Ray Park in Denison is getting new equipment thanks in part to a grant the city received. Denison Parks and Recreation said the city will be using funding from a community development block grant to purchase new playground equipment for the park located at 700 North Ray Drive.


Aging swings and a slide will be replaced with newer, more modern equipment, and the other part of the plan is to add more benches to the park since some of the equipment has been there for more than 30 years.


“We will utilize the funds we get from that (grant) and we will make $33,000 in improvements,” Director Justin Eastwood said. “What we are going to do is the slide set, the four bay seats and the swing sets. We want to use the natural shade if we can. There are a lot of good trees.”


An enclosed swing called an inclusive swing is one of the new additions the city is looking towards. The swings will include seats designed to be used by children between the ages of 2-12 years of age. A new style of swing called the “made for me” swing that will feature a seat designed to be used by children with disabilities and those with limited mobility.


The new equipment will be augmented by loose rubber to provide a soft landing for the children to fall on. Eastwood said the grass will remain unchanged from what is currently available at the park.


“Things like this add to the quality of life for so many reasons,” Eastwood said. “The potential to do more things out here especially with our vision to enhance unique programming throughout our park system. We want it to be accessible for the entire community.


He said the funding is already in place and the construction of the new equipment should take place by the end of this month.


Eastwood presented the plans to the city council last month at the city’s budget workshop saying the park is a priority for the city. The other areas included in the parks project include a system of trails at Waterloo. He said outside of those there will be a lot of little maintenance projects for the entire year.


“I think the best thing we can do is make things accessible for all residents,” Eastwood said. “We want it to be more inclusive so kids can be here side by side with the adults.”


He said while the city does have a dog park set aside specifically for pets, dogs are welcomed at the city’s others parks as long as the rules are followed.


What would you like to see most from the city’s parks? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know at rtodd@heralddemocrat.com