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Kaiser Permanente supports community playgrounds in Tacoma

The first renovated schoolyard park to open was Helen B. Stafford Elementary on January 31, with an event led by its students. Kaiser Permanente participated in the event and provided new equipment for the playground, including basketballs, soccer goals, a giant Jenga set, and fun group games. In addition, all students and staff received a new lunch bag filled with a small first aid kit and a teddy bear.  

Stafford Elementary was built on wetlands in the early 1900s, which caused its old playground to flood throughout the year. Improving the park’s irrigation systems will ensure the playground is available for use in all seasons. The renovated park also includes amenities drawn from neighborhood input, such as new treehouse-themed play structures, basketball courts, walking paths, and an amphitheater for outdoor classes.

Studies found that Tacoma has the largest park access gap of any major city in Washington, which spurred this collaboration. With the price of land rising in Tacoma, transforming existing schoolyards into community parks outside of school hours is a cost-effective and innovative solution, adding natural and public spaces to communities that need them most.

The community playgrounds will be open to the public after school hours, on weekends, and during the summer — providing green space where neighbors can exercise and decompress. Community access will align with Metro Parks hours, except during school hours or school-related events. The new schoolyard parks will serve more than 25,000 people.

“Kaiser Permanente believes good health includes healthy communities. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Tacoma Green Schoolyards as part of building a healthy southeast Tacoma community,” said Dr. Sarah Haastrup, district medical director and family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Tacoma Medical Center. “An active park with accessible green space can help build both physical fitness and essential social connections.”

All plans offered and underwritten by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington

© 2023 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington