Des Moines Legacy Foundation launches citywide Playground Project Campaign

Field House Park Play structure to be replaced.

The Des Moines Citywide Playground Project – approved by the City Council in March of this year – will provide designs to repair and replace play structures at seven of Des Moines Parks and to create a new play area at Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park.

This action is the first of many steps that will be taken within the next three years to restore City’s aging park play areas.

Playground Challenges
The play equipment located at Cecil Powell Neighborhood Park was removed due to safety concerns in 2013 and the neighborhood has asked for the equipment to be replaced. The removal of play equipment at Kiddie Park, Westwood Park and Wooton Park is also eminent, likely within the next year or two. And, there is strong community support for play areas to be installed at Des Moines Beach Park where the play area was removed over a decade ago due to flooding and infrastructure repairs and at Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park where a play area has not been installed due to lack of funding. The City’s challenge is the lack of funding resources to make the necessary improvements.

Kiddie Park Play Structure to be Replaced

Midway Park Play Structure to be Repaired

“The removal of the Cecil Powell Park play area is a big loss to my neighborhood. It was the safe gathering place where my family and neighbors met to play and get to know each other. The removal of the play structure was devastating to me and my sense of community. That is why my family and Powell Homes have made contributions to the Legacy Foundation to help to have it replaced.”

– Brandie Holmes- Neighborhood Park Advocate

Cecil Powell Play Structure was Removed in 2013

Filling the Funding Bucket- Why do play areas cost so much and what resources are available to pay for the projects?
Public play areas must comply with very high standards for safety and access. The play structure is only a portion of the overall cost. Play areas require a built infrastructure that meets federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for public access and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety requirements. These criteria are necessary to provide a safe and inclusive environment for families and children.

There are three funding sources that the City will tap into to pay for the playground improvements- City capital funds, grant funds and Des Moines Legacy foundation community funds. Individual park playground projects will be implemented as adequate funding is available.

Wooton Park Play Structure to be Replaced

City Capital Funds (43% of the Project’s Revenue):
City funds in the amount of $839,000 are currently programmed in years 2017, 2019 and 2020 of the Des Moines Capital Budget for play area repairs, replacement and new construction at:

Wooton Park, Des Moines Beach Park, Field House Park, Westwood Park and Water Tower Park.

Funding for these projects is made up from $459,000 Real-Estate Excise Tax (REET), $380,000 Park In-Lieu Funds from developers.

The Citywide Playground Project will add five play areas located at Midway, Kiddie Park, Steven J. Underwood Memorial Park and Cecil Powell Park to the City’s Capital Plan. The total cost for all eight play area projects is $2,019,000.

Grant Funds (47% of the Project’s Revenue):
Grant funding totaling over $1M is the key element for the success of the Play Area Project. Over the next 3 years, the City will apply for grants from King County Community Development Block Grant, State Recreation and Conservation Office and King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant and other local and regional organizations in order to finance the remaining costs of the Project.

Des Moines Legacy Foundation/Community (10% of the Project’s Revenue):
The Des Moines Legacy Foundation, a 501c3 Non-Profit Charity, has established a partnership with the City and will contribute $105,000 from an endowment provided to the Foundation from the estate of Dorothy specifically for this purpose. The Foundation has also launched a community effort and will provide the conduit to raise an additional $100,000 for the City’s play areas. Contributions in any amount are welcome, tax deductible and may be made to:

Des Moines Legacy Foundation
PO Box 13582
Des Moines, WA 98198

Find Out More
Community involvement is welcome and necessary. For more details on the Citywide Playground Project, partnership opportunities or community engagement contact: Des Moines Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Director Patrice Thorell at: [email protected] or 206-870-6527.

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