Dankwardt Park Playground Project

This is a large-scale project will replace the existing playground with updated play structures that are inclusive, challenging and imaginative, a layout that will allow you to explore, socialize and relax and new walkways that will connect Dankwardt Parks amenities and activities like never before. 

Project Goals

This projects main goal is to create an inclusive destination playground for kids of all ages and abilities in the Southeast Iowa Region. The playground will use state of the art design and offer play value that is unique, imaginative, encourages active engagement, increases fitness, offers transition play and is safe, fun and challenging. 

This location has two reserve able shelters, a restroom, an access drive and is located in Dankwardt Park- Burlington's premier 'active park'. Features of Dankwardt Park include archery range, baseball diamonds, disc golf course, tennis courts, our municipal pool, skate park and much more. Dankwardt Park is also situated directly next to Crapo Park, our park systems 'passive park' where you can find amenities including Lake Starker, The Hawk Eye Log Cabin, Shakespeare Garden and the Arboretum. Having a playground of this size will add great value to the already existing, well-loved amenities in this areas.

Playground Elements

Parks staff is working very closely with Confluence Design Firm to make this a destination playground that is inclusive to all. It is a priority for parks staff to include elements in this playground that will allow all kids to be challenged, included and implement a free play concept in choosing what events to use. We are using design that taps into children's intuitive development and sense of adventure, challenges motor skills, strength and agility, increases hand-eye coordination and develops and creative level of problem solving. The input survey done in Fall of 2021 focused on the following three areas:

  • Development Skills (Balance, Interactive, Challenging, etc.)
  • Equipment Options (Play Structures, Slides, Obstacles, Climbers, etc.)
  • Inclusive Events (Roller Tables, Instruments, Chair Swings, Inclusive Spinners, etc.)

Staff, alongside Confluence Design Firm, are taking into consideration best practices for playground layout. These include accessibility, age separation, sight lines, signage and organization of activities by category (i.e. spacing for heavy-use equipment, dispersing active and quiet activities throughout, etc.).


The final design has not yet been completed for this playground. Once that has been completed, Burlington Parks staff will have a finalized fundraising goal. Expenses that are being considered will include site preparation, play equipment, shipping costs, surfacing, professional installation, ancillary equipment and features (i.e. sidewalks, lighting, seating, water fountains, etc.) and playground accessibility. Updates will be available by early Spring.

How can you help or get involved?

  1. The most important thing citizens or supporters of this project can do is TALK about it! Growing awareness for this project will be vital to it's success.
  2. Participate in surveys as they are available.
  3. Donate to this playground fund by reaching out to Ryan Gourley at 319-753-8117.
  1. Ryan Gourley

    Parks Superintendent
    Phone: 319-753-8117

  2. Eric Tysland

    Development & Parks Director
    Phone: 319-753-8158

  3. Jocelynn Krebill

    Project Coordinator
    Phone: 319-753-8131

We go round

Inclusive Play Defined:

'An inclusive playground allows children of all abilities and developmental stages to play in the same space and creates an inviting atmosphere for all. These spaces consider the needs of all kids (ages 1-99).'

Dankwardt Park
Old Site
Dankwardt Aerial
Proposed layout
Dankwardt Park Playground Project Timeline (1)

Timeline of past events:

  • Tuesday, 8/17/21 - Public Input Session at Dankwardt Park Playground
    Survey was available online as well as in-person to collect feedback on design options
    Online Survey Link