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Play DC Playgrounds Improvement Initiative

DGS and Play DC Playground Capital Construction Services Improvement Projects

The Department of General Services (DGS), the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Office of Planning (OP), and over 25 stakeholder organizations, in collaboration with consulting firm AECOM, have developed Play DC; the comprehensive Play DC Master Plan for the District of Columbia. The plan is guiding a NEW, BOLD, and STRATEGIC vision for advancing the District's park and recreation resources over the next 10-15 years, and will help Washingtonians Move, Grow, and Be Green!


The Department of General Services (DGS) in partnership with the the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), is excited to introduce the Play DC playground improvement project. This new, multi-year citywide play space project will drive the evaluation, improvement and ongoing maintenance of the playgrounds in DPR's inventory.

Through Play DC, DGS and DPR will improve and renovate an unprecedented number of play spaces during the 2014 fiscal year. Moving forward, DGS and DPR will regularly evaluate all DPR’s 78 playgrounds in the District and use consistent evaluation data to prioritize maintenance and capital improvements.


Play DC is a multi-year effort to provide the District’s children and adults with exciting, innovative and inclusive play spaces.


As part of Mayor Gray’s One City Action Plan and "A Vision for a Sustainable DC", Play DC will strengthen the District’s commitment to using world-class, innovative practices to improve how residents and visitors work, live and play.

Play DC implements the DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Move, Grow, Be Green goals, which invites residents of all ages to join in active and inclusive recreation (Move), to support their personal development through enrichment activities (Grow), and to connect to our natural world (Be Green). Play DC will be achieved through collaboration with the Department of General Services (DGS), whose integral role in building and maintaining these spaces exemplifies DGS’ mission to elevate the quality of life in the District.

Play DC will also leverage the expertise of other partners, such as the District Department of the Environment, the DC Office of Planning, other prominent, non-governmental partners and local community groups.


  • Provide safe playgrounds for children living in and visiting the District.
  • Ensure playgrounds are accessible and inclusive for children and care givers.
  • Increase childhood wellness through natural and adventure play.
  • Foster community support for a well-loved playground.
  • Utilize Play DC and scorecards to encourage volunteerism and partnerships at playgrounds.

How We’ll Get There

On October 12, 2012, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced the 32 playgrounds that will be renovated by October 2013. Among the 32 play spaces, 7 playgrounds are already in the planning or design phases.

In recent years, DGS and DPR have revitalized other play spaces throughout the city, and both DGS and DPR are excited to continue creating world-class environments that elevate the quality of life in the District. In 2014, many more sites will be created or renovated.

The playgrounds announced by the Mayor were evaluated using a Scorecard developed by DPR. The evaluation looked at many factors, including:

  • Age and condition of existing equipment
  • Internal risk-management audits
  • Community needs
  • Existing usage
  • Existing surfacing
  • Accessibility
  • Area demographics
  • Existing infrastructure (water, electricity, etc.)
  • Operations and maintenance requirements
  • Proximity to other playgrounds/parks

DPR will continue to evaluate all DPR play spaces. Every two years, play spaces will be scored to ensure that they are still safe, attractive places to play; this is in addition to regular maintenance inspections. The information gathered through these evaluations will be used by DPR as we make ongoing decisions about maintenance and capital improvements. This information will also be published to assist community groups as they focus their efforts on supporting our work in maintaining and improving play spaces.

DPR will use this initiative to develop a strategic plan for play space in the District that is particularly focused on maintaining a high level of service and addressing any gaps in the play system.

Project Timeline

DGS and DPR hosted community meetings in 2013 for each play space to be renovated in 2014. Mayor Gray looks forward to the District’s children and adults using these new facilities by the end of summer of 2014.

We will soon release a schedule for the next round of community meetings, which will be pre-construction meetings.

Contact Us

Please feel free to email your thoughts and vision for each Play DC new playground or plaground renovation site to Jackie Stanley.