Department of General Services

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Play DC

The Department of General Services (DGS), in partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), is excited to introduce a playground improvement project, Play DC.  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, DPR and DGS will improve and renovate an unprecedented number of play spaces during the 2013 fiscal year.  Moving forward, DPR and DGS 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 the 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.


  1. Provide safe playgrounds for children living in and visiting the District.
  2. Ensure playgrounds are accessible and inclusive for children and care givers.
  3. Increase childhood wellness through natural and adventure play.
  4. Foster community support for a well-loved playground.
  5. 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 that 32 playgrounds that will be renovated by October 2013. Among the 32 play spaces, 7 playgrounds are already in the planning or design phase. In recent years, DPR and DGS have revitalized other play spaces throughout the city, and both DPR and DGS are excited to continue creating world-class environments in which residents can Move, Grow, and Be Green.

The 25 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 our play system.

Project Timeline:
DPR and DGS will host community meetings (see schedule below) beginning in November 2012 for each play space to be renovated in 2013. Construction will begin in the spring, and Mayor Gray looks forward to the District’s children and adults using these new facilities beginning in the summer of 2013!

Your Say in DC Play:
Community input in the design stage is important to the long-term success of each new playground. We look forward to meeting with residents about their play spaces, and encourage everyone to attend our community meetings.  If for some reason you cannot attend, please fill out the Play DC survey or send us an email.

Community Meetings

Please note that all community meetings will be held from 6:00-7:30pm. For each playground, we will be hosting two community meetings. The first to solicit ideas and the second to present designs. Please view the entire Play DC community meeting schedule below for more information.  

Online Survey

If you cannot attend the community meeting for your site, please fill out our online survey.  We will make sure to incorporate your feedback in the design of the site.


Beyond our survey, please also feel free to send us an email on your thoughts and vision for each site.