Dunlop Park Creative Playground
Sunrise Creative Playground

Sunrise Creative Playground 1


Constructed March 28 through April 2, 1989


Sunrise Rotary, officially the Rotary Club of Arlington, Sunrise, was chartered on March 24th, 1987. Like all new Rotary Clubs, we started looking for something to do in the areas of Club Service, International Service, Vocational Service and Community Service. We hit the jackpot on Community Service. The Arlington Parks and Recreation Department had long range plans for a playground in the J. W. Dunlop Sports Center located at Fielder Road and North Green Oaks Boulevard. Not having a firm grasp of the size of the undertaking, a playground seemed like a good project and Sunrise signed on.


A Letter from the Mayor:


Dear Citizens of Arlington:

One of the most exciting upcoming parks projects is the Arlington Sunrise Creative Playground. And guess who's responsible YOU. That's right. The creative playground is totally a community project. Everybody has a chance to take part in it, and the Sunrise Rotary Club of Arlington is officially issuing you an invitation now to get involved.

If you don't know about the creative playground, let me tell you. It has been designed by experts in the field - kids! That's right. Our own kids, with the help of a New York architect, Robert Leathers, have already decided what will be included. All that's left for the rest of us is the fund raising and the actual construction. Sound exciting? You bet it does!

How long has it been since you've challenged a volcano or come face to face with a monster? Well, you're soon to have the opportunity. Of course, this playground will also offer the traditional slides and swings and other favorite kid things. And it's soon to be a reality in our City as part of the J.W. Dunlop Sports Center located at Fielder Road and North Green Oaks Blvd.

Three thousand of your best friends will take part in building this innovative playground beginning March 29, through April 2, 1989. But if you want to get a jump on this exciting event, get involved now in the fund raising efforts. Remember, it's a community happening, and it won't happen without YOU.

See you there


Richard E. Greene



Fund raising was the major hurdle and it proved frantic! Events started with a wine tasting party followed by a run, a haunted house, a casino night, a barbeque, a spaghetti supper, random phone calls and a pancake breakfast (on a morning when ice covered Arlington). Everyone who made a donation was also invited to help with construction - and the response was terrific. Just over twenty-five hundred volunteers constructed the playground in five days. The fund raising goals were not met until volunteers filled the feed-the-kitty jars on the sign-in table during construction. Donated materials, donated services and cash donations totaled $89,000.


The playground was constructed of treated wood and a virtual forest of partially buried treated "telephone poles" provided the primary support structure. All of the necessary tools were borrowed from community volunteers and businesses. The wood timbers and poles were ordered in bulk and were cut to size and assembled on-site. All volunteers were fed on-site. Construction started on Wednesday, March 29th and the completion ceremony and official playground opening was held on Sunday afternoon, April 2nd.




Sunrise Creative Playground 2


Constructed September 28 through October 5, 2005


Star-Telegram Editorial on March 28, 2005:


Building a better city


There are some givens for Arlington's parks:

  • They need millions in renovation funds.
  • They add to the community's quality of life and economic development as they enhance property values and attract new residents.
  • The best-kept parks are funded by public private dollars. Case in point: J.W. Dunlop Park.

Arlington's 88-park system began as a private, not public, effort decades ago when the Arlington Rotary Club raised money to build Meadowbrook Park.

Now Dunlop's 15-year old Creative Playground, one of the most-use facilities in the city, will receive an extensive e face lift thanks to a collaborative effort between the city and the Sunrise Rotary Club.

Dunlop's playground gear needs to be retired. Sunrise Rotary plans to rebuild the playground, but the 10,000 square-foot project is costly and complex and needs both community financial support and volunteers to help in construction.

The new playground, designed with input from children, will be built in the fall. Sunrise Rotary is seeking tax-deductible donations to supplement public funding. Volunteers - not just Rotarians - will do the construction.

This is the kind of partnership that should be encouraged, one worthy of contributions. More public-private collaboration is needed to keep city parks in shape.


After fifteen years of heavy use, the original playground materials deteriorated to the point that splitting and splinters had become a safety hazard. A few of the structures had to be removed completely. Although it was city property, Sunrise Rotary still considered it to be "our playground." Discussion was started with the Parks and Recreation Department, and an agreement was made to remove the old playground and replace it with an entirely new playground in almost the same tree shaded location. The design was to be done by the same engineering firm that designed the original playground. But this time, the primary surface material selected was long lasting composite wood. The primary structural beams and support posts were made of recycled plastic material.


Because of the fundraising difficulties and lessons learned with the first playground, fundraising was the first and primary focus of the second playground. The initial cost estimate was $200,000 and Arlington Parks and Recreation Department agreed to provide matching funds up to a limit of $100,000. Fundraising was primarily done through solicitation from individual members, businesses and other civic organizations. A recognition walk and a recognition wall were created using engraved bricks and plaques that identified the donors. Total cost was $215, 000. Fundraising was essentially complete well before construction started. This was extremely fortunate because one month before the construction start date, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and non-Katrina related fundraising opportunities quickly vanished.


The construction process was much the same as in the original playground. The composite and plastic materials proved to be more difficult to work with and much harder on saw blades and drill bits. The assembly was done exclusively using screws and bolts. Over 1000 volunteers provided the labor which daily started at 8 am and extended to 10 pm under the lights. On-site meals were provided throughout construction. The planned construction dates of Wednesday, September 28th through Sunday, October 2nd proved to be optimistic and work continued through Wednesday, October 5th. Friday, September 30th, presented us with a 104 degree day! A dedication ceremony was held and the ribbon cutting was performed by Mayor Robert Cluck on Saturday, October 8th.