Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis dedicates new playground

Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis dedicates new playground
Teri Stein

Vicki Yates, holding large scissors, president of the Dover- New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club, and Erica Messler, to the right, president elect, cut the ribbon to open a new playground at Dover Park’s Deis Hill.


The Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the dedication of a new playground at Dover’s Deis Hill Park.

The club was once two separate clubs that merged in 2016. They were formed one day apart. The Dover club was formed Jan. 31, 1921, and the New Philadelphia club was formed Feb. 1, 1921.

The new playground includes three types of swings for children of all abilities, an Omni spinner that seats eight children and a unique climbing frame. The group plans to add some benches too.

Steve Handley, past president of the group, was pleased with how quickly the project came together once it was announced. He thanked local media for their help and the donors in attendance at the dedication. They included Kevin Korns representing the Dover Exchange Club, Scott Jerles representing the City of Dover, Lisa Tripp, Susan Miller, Angie Thomas, Trudy Sensel and Gretchen Boring.

The Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis and the Haman Foundation also contributed funding for the project.

Handley was thankful for the members of the group who came to the rescue in helping to plan the project. It was Brenda Cameron who suggested they look at putting playground equipment near the shelters on Deis Hill. Until the new playground was added, there were only a few older pieces in place.

“The need was there because there are parties and lunches, and they actually do weddings and all kinds of family gatherings, and there was no playground equipment that is current,” Handley said.

A spot across the road from the shelters was selected, although one closer to the shelter was considered.

“We started digging around up there, and we find out there were so many buried lines,” Handley said. “We just said this is the perfect place. Although the kids do have to walk across the street, they're still within sight of their parents.”

Having two projects, one in each city, to commemorate the 100-year milestone was approved at the January 2021 meeting.

New President Vicki Yates said the group is planning another special project in New Philadelphia for 2022. They will work with New Philadelphia Park officials for guidance into what is needed.

The group is already accepting donations for the upcoming project. All donations are tax deductible. For anyone wishing to donate, checks can be made to the Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 103, New Philadelphia, OH 44663.

The group is proud to have merged its efforts for the good of all.

“We'd like to say we were the first peace offering that merged the two cities into one club, and it took a hundred years,” Handley said. “But that's why our next project will be for the City of New Philadelphia.”

They expect to begin planning that project within a couple weeks.

Service to the community is the goal of the club. The Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. They have more than 250,000 members worldwide. There are approximately 50 chapters in Ohio, and the Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis has about 40 members.

A typical Kiwanis Club is a snapshot of its community with members from all walks of life at every step of the career ladder. They also are unified in their belief that children and their communities benefit from the efforts of a group of caring and involved volunteers.

The charities the local group supports are scholarships for area high schools, Rainbow Connection, United Way Imagination Library, Noah’s Hope, Tuff Bags, Salvation Army, Dover-New Philadelphia Food Pantry, T-4-C, New Philadelphia Little League, NPHS Delphian Chorale, Kiwanis Key Clubs in New Philadelphia and Dover high schools, National Honor Society Pins, Strong Kids YMCA, Sole Purpose's shoes for kids, Leaders of Tomorrow, 4.0 Awards for area high schools, Stuff the Bus and the homeless shelter.

Local officials from the City of Dover, City of New Philadelphia and the Tuscarawas County commissioners had proclaimed Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 as Kiwanis International Day in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club and the work they do for the community.

At their meetings the club usually has speakers from around the community to talk about their businesses, organizations or other topics of interest.

Each year the group also gives $8,000 in scholarships to high school applicants, and over the years the Kiwanis has donated more than $200,000 for college scholarships. It also supports hardworking students from Dover, New Philadelphia and Tuscarawas Central Catholic in other ways.

The group hosts a new teacher appreciation breakfast every August and supports a student group, the Key Club, a nationwide group that allows students to get involved doing service work in the community and earning service hours.

The club’s biggest fundraisers each year include the annual Pancake Day, which is usually every November; working with Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital for a Community Health Profile Day, which provides blood screenings at a discounted cost while helping to support Kiwanis Club projects; and a bourbon-tasting event.

New members are always welcome. For more information on the Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club, visit its page on Facebook.

Anyone interested in joining the Kiwanis should call club secretary Ron Lyness at 269-325-8411.

The next fundraiser for the Dover-New Philadelphia Kiwanis Club is its annual pancake breakfast on Nov. 6. Check the Facebook page for upcoming information on the event.

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