The Des Moines Legacy Foundation has mounted a fundraising drive to replace all of the worn-out and aging playground equipment across the city’s parks system, plus add equipment at both the Beach Park and the Steven J. Underwood ballfields.

The 501(c)(3) non-profit charity is seeking to raise $200,000 in public donations to be used to leverage grants and corporate donations to complete the massive project that has a $2 million price tag.

Board President Gene Achziger outlined the benefits of maintaining outdoor public playgrounds:

  • Outdoors is the best place for young kids to practice and master emerging physical skills
  • It is there kids fully and freely experience motor skills such as running, leaping and jumping
  • It is the most appropriate area to develop ball-handling skills such as throwing, catching and swinging

It is also a difficult thing to attain right now in Des Moines given the critical condition of its public playground equipment, he said.

Replacing all of the playground equipment in Des Moines will not be cheap, Achziger said. “But what price do we put on the future of this community’s children? Will they reap the benefits of outdoor play?”

He said “The price tag will be $2 million, but through grants and by leveraging contributions, we can accomplish this monumental task if the public can raise $200,000.”

He said if the public does its part, the project is eminently doable since “We have the queen of grants on our side.”

Achziger said he was referring to Legacy Secretary Patrice Thorell, who as director of Des Moines’ Parks, Recreation and Senior Services department, has secured millions of dollars of grants to accomplish tasks such as restoring much of Beach Park.

“Your generous tax-free donation will have a big impact on the development of the next generation of Des Moines citizens,” he said. “We can do this.”

For more information and to donate, please visit Des Moines Legacy Foundation of Washington.