Deis Hill to get new playground

Deis Hill to get new playground
Scott Daniels

Vicki Yates, Brenda Cameron and Steve Handley stand where the new playground will be installed.


A new playground with swings, slides and other equipment is coming to Deis Hill Park in Dover, thanks to the efforts of the Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club and cooperation from the City of Dover Parks and Recreation Department.

The area Kiwanis Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and hopes to make a major mark in the lives of children for decades to come with the new outdoor play space.

As anyone who has been to Deis Hill Park can attest, the swings, monkey bars and teeter-totter are mostly in ruins, rusting away for many years. Pinning down just how long the pieces have been there is a difficult task, and the most anyone can come up with is “since my parents were kids, at least.”

Nothing remains of the teeter-totter but the rusted steel fulcrum, with no plank to sit on. Swings have long since snapped off their rusted chains, and a monkey bars, placed at some distance from the rest of the decaying equipment, has gained enough surface rust to grind little hands into quick blisters. Clearly, something needed to be done.

“The shelters at the park get used quite a lot,” Kiwanis Club President Steve Handley said. “There’s nothing for the kids to play on anymore.”

The club announced plans to replace the equipment earlier this year, and a Bargain Hunter article to that effect brought about immediate donations to the project.

“Suddenly, we had several large donations and $30,000 to work with,” said Brenda Cameron, past club president. “We had the money to put in a nice playground and make it happen this year.”

The City of Dover Parks and Recreation Department is kicking in $5,000 of that, and the space to install the new playground will be moved from the current location among the shelters on the hill to nearer the park entrance.

“You will still be able to see it from the shelters,” Handley said. “But we quickly found that the land around the shelters has numerous pipes, water and electric lines buried underground, making rebuilding there too expensive and probably impossible.”

The new location will occupy a large field to the side of the old sled-riding hill to the left of the road, where a small parking lot is already in place.

The project is still in the planning stages with specific pieces of equipment being secured from Landscape Structures, who also will install the equipment. “They’re well known and have placed playgrounds all over the country,” Handley said.

The end result, which should begin construction in June this summer, will bring about clean, safer equipment with safe landing underfoot and hand-sanitizing stations. The club is hoping to open the new playground in July.

“This is our hundred-year commemoration project,” Cameron said. “We want to leave a legacy and a kind of footprint behind for future generations. We thought putting in new play equipment was a great way to do that.”

Once Dover’s space is completed, the club will turn its attention to doing the same in New Philadelphia.

There were previously two Kiwanis Clubs in Tuscarawas County, one in Dover and one in New Philadelphia. The two merged in 2016; Handley said the merger has been successful and beneficial to both.

“The groups were aging, and this has helped bring new activity and renewed interest to our organization,” Handley said.

The new playground will be wheelchair-accessible and a safe place for families to come and enjoy the fresh air and grand views from Deis Hill Park, with little among the equipment that can deteriorate over time.

“There will be equipment for kids to play from toddlers through age 12 or so,” said new Kiwanis Club President-Elect Vicki Yates, who will be installed later this year. “There will be bucket swings for smaller children and lots for the kids to do.”

The equipment supplier website at provides a look at the company’s installations in numerous cities.

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