For the Parks Campaign

We have a vision to reinvent Elliott Park and we need your help.

A central playground and meeting place for families in the community, this park is located on the east side of University Avenue: in the small hollow below the Book and Supply Store and near the center of the University campus.

Originally designated in 1870, Elliott Park has a history of community support with much of its playground equipment built by the community or purchased with donations. A swing set, chin up bars, wooden step structure, and sand box (now removed) were installed under the leadership of Sandy Baird and Yolande Gottfried in the 1980s. In 1998, community member Dana Lesesne spearheaded the addition of a pirate ship constructed by the Sewanee chapter of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), with support from various sources including the Kaj Krogstad Memorial Fund. In 2012, when several wooden play elements were in disrepair, the University removed the ship, cabin, play automobile, and picnic table from Elliott Park leaving behind little more than an aging swing set in what was once a vibrant place for the children to play.

We are beginning the next chapter of this community-supported park. The Sewanee Civic Association board has drafted an action plan to raise $65,000 for the Elliott Park playground equipment and installation. The plan includes soliciting a combination of individual, corporate, and foundation gifts during the next few months through the Sewanee Community Chest, a 501(c) 3 organization. We have a verbal agreement with the University for site preparation and are drafting a written Memorandum of Understanding that includes maintenance of the park and contingency planning for the equipment should the University ever need to relocate it. There will be community build events where volunteers can participate in the installation of the playground equipment. This will be a collaborative effort with the University’s Physical Plant Services, neighboring organizations, and community volunteers to maintain and enhance the park, creating a sense of ownership to ensure the long-term care and upkeep of this important part of the community.

Children need a place to play and people need a place to gather. The For the Parks project will benefit the whole community and our many visitors by reminding us that Sewanee is not only a place where families live, but is a place where families are valued. We hope you will join the community effort to reinvent this community park.

This unique special-project for the parks capital campaign should be completed in September, 2015.

If you would like to volunteer or need more information, please email

To make a donation, send a check payable to SCA For the Parks, PO Box 222, Sewanee, TN 37375. Together we can continue to strengthen our community.