As a part of celebrations for its centennial anniversary, the Denison Rotary Club has focused its efforts on creating a lasting legacy in Denison. As November came to an end, the Rotary was finishing the first phase of fundraising for a new playground in Denison’s Forest Park.

As a part of celebrations for its centennial anniversary, the Denison Rotary Club has focused its efforts on creating a lasting legacy in Denison. As November came to an end, the Rotary was finishing the first phase of fundraising for a new playground in Denison’s Forest Park.


"We are just trying to do something memorable and to honor our former Rotarians," Kris Spiegel, chairman for the fundraising effort, said. As of Friday, Spiegel said the Rotary has raised nearly $25,000 toward a $100,000 goal.


The idea of playground in Forest Park was first discussed in 2012 when the city approved its Park Implementation Plan. In April, the city approved preliminary designs for the $415,000 project. At the time Denison Parks and Recreation Department Director Sunny Mackey said, community partnerships to fund the project, including one with the Rotary, were possible. Mackey said the city did not include the playground in improvements to the park in 2014 due to the expense of the project.


Initial designs for the playground called for a spray plaza, Yellow Jacket-themed playground equipment and other pieces themed around Denison’s past as a hub for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, Mackey said.


Mackey said the city is waiting to see what the Rotary will contribute, and the city will pay the remaining costs using the park maintenance fund. The final project scope and timeline will be based on what funds the city has available at the time, Mackey said.


"This is simply a starting point," Mackey said in April. "We can add to or take from the project as needed. We just need something to relate what we are trying to do."


Spiegel said the Rotary will cap off the first phase of fundraising on Thursday with an event at Heritage Park following the city’s annual Christmas parade. The fundraising effort is expected to continue next spring, Spiegel added.


Moving forward, Spiegel said the Rotary is discussing different fundraising methods and strategies including grants, corporate sponsorships and a "party in the park" next year. The Rotary has also started a GoFundMe campaign — https://www.gofundme.com/denisontxrotary — for the park with a goal of $20,000.