Playground plans reach milestone

All My Friends group secures enough donations to buy park equipment; fundraising continues

FUNDRAISING EFFORTS for the All My Friends Playground project at Centennial Park in Grafton have been successful enough for the group to begin purchasing equipment, said organizers Dianne Dyer (left) and Donna Howarth. However, another $100,000 in sponsorships is needed before construction can begin, they noted. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Organizers of All My Friends Playground said they have reached a milestone in securing enough funds to begin purchasing playground equipment and are on track to begin construction on the Grafton project this year.

Dianne Dyer and Donna Howarth recently hosted a Casino Night fundraiser, an event attended by 135 people that raised $11,000 for the playground.

Howarth said they have received $250,000 in sponsorships and need another $100,000 to begin building an accessible playground for children with disabilities in Centennial Park.

“We have enough money to secure the equipment for the playground, which is excellent,” Howarth said. “We’re almost there. We just need to get that last push.”

According to Dyer, All My Friends Playground is going to be a “smart playground” because one of the equipment pieces involves an interactive phone app called Biba, which teaches children to play various games on the playground equipment. 

“I think it will be the first technology piece of playground equipment in all of Wisconsin,” Dyer said.

Another playground feature will be a wobble sphere, which allows children to take a break in action during playtime.

“If a child is feeling overwhelmed, they can climb into the pod and rock back and forth and do what they need to do to calm down before they can go back and play with their friends,” Dyer said.

Although enough money has been raised to purchase equipment, Howarth said project organizers are still seeking sponsors to cover some costs.

“Playgrounds like this are very expensive and a lot of communities can’t afford it,” Howarth said.

“If we can get more of the equipment sponsored, we can use the remaining funds to pay for the flooring and fencing of the playground.”

Some of the playground pieces the organizers want to have sponsored include a generation swing, gator walk balance beam, catwalk bridge and pirate ship swing.

“A child in a wheelchair can wheel right up to the pirate ship swing and glide with their friends,” Dyer said, noting the playground will be 100% wheelchair accessible. 

“This whole playground was designed for children with special needs,” Dyer added. “We met with occupational therapists and really narrowed down what would work best for the kids and stimulate their interest, learning and social skills.”

Prices for most of the equipment range from $600 to $2,000, with the most expensive piece being an infinity web for $17,654. The infinity web will serve as a jungle gym for youngsters to climb on.

Dyer and Howarth began organizing plans for the playground three years ago because Dyer’s daughter Cassie, who has autism, wanted a playground so her friends with all abilities could play together.

They said All My Friends Playground will be built at the site of an existing park playground, which will be moved to a subdivision.

“The equipment is going to be 100% recycled and repurposed,” Howarth said. “It’s kind of like build one playground to help two.”

“We’re pushing as hard as we can to get everyone involved because $100,000 isn’t that far off.

“If we can get this done in 2018 for the community, that would be a blessing because we don’t want to push this off to next year.”

For more information on supporting All My Friends Playground, visit  




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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