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Consumed by fire, repairs for Eisenhower Park playground won't come anytime soon

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 20:50:16-04

DENVER -- Summer is supposed to be a time for kids to be outside on city parks and playgrounds.

“They love it. The girls would rather come here than some of the other parks,” nanny Sandra Duarte said.

Duarte nannies for Caroline and Claire, but Monday they got an unwelcome surprise at Eisenhower Park, off E. Darmouth Ave. and S. Colorado Blvd.

“Oh my gosh, we were so devastated. We were wondering what in the world happened,” Duarte said.

What happened was the main playground structure was set on fire.

“That just hurts my heart,” Duarte said.

And it's not the first park to have suffered that fate. In early June, there was a fire at the playground at the new Paco Sanchez Park off Knox Court, in their big microphone tower.

“Somebody got in the middle of that structure and burned some of the pieces in there,” Denver Parks and Rec Director Scott Gilmore said.

The damage at Paco Sanchez Park cost $12,000 and closed the area for about a month, but Eisenhower is far more costly.

“To fix this place back to where we want it, probably a quarter of a million dollars,” Gilmore said.

And the money is not exactly there for needed repairs.

“We have a budget to fix smaller things. If a slide fell, yeah we can get out and replace that. We didn’t budget for someone to burn up a piece of the playground for a quarter of a million dollars,” Gilmore said.

He says the structure will be removed and due to other projects already earmarked, the replacement will happen.

“Not in 2019. And probably not in 2020,” he said.

Gilmore is asking people to always be on the look out to help prevent this from happening.

“So sad for the girls to see what happened,” Duarte said.

But it won't stop Caroline and Claire from coming to enjoy the park, at least the parts they can.

“We were devastated and the girls didn’t want to go to any other park, they said, 'let’s come here,'” Duarte said.