As an early Earth Day present, Lampe Park received an eco-friendly upgrade in the form of new pavement.
It wasn’t just any pavement, however. The material being poured over 2,000 square feet near the park’s concession stand resembled shattered glass, mostly because it was glass.
“It sparkles like diamonds,” Missouri resident Steve Wendling said Wednesday during the project. “If someone turns water on it, the water runs right through.”
Wendling is the owner of Missouri-based FilterPave Products. The proprietary product is derived from recycled glass, mixed with granite depending upon the application, and bound with a special, plant-based resin developed by BASF Chemical Co.
Though it might sound too rough for pedestrian use, the material used on Wednesday was broken down into a scintillating topaz base, perfectly suitable for sneakers.
“It’s over 98 percent recyclable, reclaimable product,” said Wendling. “About 70-90 beverage bottles go into one square foot.”
Beyond the benefits of recycling, the porous pavement absorbs storm-water rather than contribute to runoff.
“Because it’s so porous, engineers have allowed it to be its own BMP (best management practice) for storm-water management,” Wendling said.
The product was invented five years ago by a man named Joe Caul. Wendling acquired the intellectual property and has been at the helm of the growing operation for about four years.
Thus far, the company has completed roughly a hundred projects, including a 32,000-square-foot overlay around the Cherry Hill Fountain in Central Park, an 18,000-square-foot pad for the entrance of the Philadelphia Zoo, and 2,500 square feet of pathway near the Old Faithful visitors center in Yellowstone National Park — all of which beg the question how the company ended up in Douglas County donating their materials and labor.
“We thought it would be good for the area,” said Johnson Lane resident Mike Wendling, Steve’s older brother and the owner of Chaparral Avionics at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
The brothers hope the Lampe Park installation will attract the attention of engineers in the area. Part of the company’s “controlled growth” strategy is to license the product to landscapers and contractors.
“We talked to the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency), and they really like it,” said Mike Wendling.
The Lampe installation took about half a day to complete. The glass was lifted in a bucket, blended with resin and pigment, then poured and leveled by hand.
Karen Wendling, Mike’s wife, said the substance reminded her of something else.
“When you get the binder on there, it looks like a rice crispy treat,” she said.
For more information about the company, visit www.filterpave.com.