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Local Family Gifts Tree House Benefiting Boulder’s Youth

Image of Wagner Tree House in the Civic Area.Kids visiting the Civic Area’s new nature play area just outside of Boulder's Main Library can enjoy an added sense of adventure thanks to a local family with a big heart.

The Wagner family has had roots in Boulder extending back to the 1800s. The family included three siblings who played and picnicked in the area after trips down from University Hill where dad, Clay Wagner, studied. An unspeakable tragedy beset the family nearly 50 years ago when brother, Michael Tray Wagner, passed at the age of five. 

“My family never lost the memory of his joyful laughter and how much we enjoyed visiting the library and playing along the creek. When we heard that the Civic Area was to include a playground, we wanted to make a gift that would bring just as much joy to other children as it did to Tray,” shared Heidi Wagner.

The gift was facilitated by the PLAY Boulder Foundation, the nonprofit partner organization of the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department. 

“Our Foundation is committed to excellence in Boulder’s parks and programs. Partnering with the department allows us to enhance the link between community passions and our great way of life,” said Foundation Board Chair, Kelly Wyatt.

“I was surprised how easy the PLAY Foundation and the city made the process of legacy gifting. It is especially meaningful that we could remember Tray this way,” added Heidi Wagner.

The Civic Area’s Nature Play Area is made possible by the community’s support of the 2A Community, Culture and Safety Tax passed by voters in 2014. Boulder voters passed this temporary, 0.3-percent sales tax in November 2014 to generate more than $27 million to improve community spaces, bolster cultural projects and organizations, and enhance safety. This phase of the Civic Area Project park improvement is being funded with $8.7 million collected through the tax. The Nature Play amenity represents roughly 10 percent of the project expenditure and is set to open in December.

Boulder's Parks and Recreation Director and Civic Area Project Team Leader, Yvette Bowden added, "Project savings arising out of the Tree House gift make it possible for us to add more shaded seating to the play area and to create seed money for the addition of more permanent public access in the Civic Area. We are exceedingly grateful to the Wagner Family and to the PLAY Boulder Foundation for this generous gift and for their continued partnership benefiting Boulder’s youngest residents.”

PLAY Boulder Foundation's goal is simple - to turn our community's vision into reality and to foster stewardship around three focus areas: ACCESS for all to enjoy recreation, parks and leisure; growing the Boulder Tree Trust for ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY; and, excellence in URBAN PLACEMAKING. Learn more about the PLAY Boulder Foundation by visiting

For more information about the changes coming to the Civic Area and the construction, specifically, please visit

Media Contacts:
Denise White, Parks and Recreation Communication Specialist, 303-413-7258
Ben Irwin, Deputy Communication Director, 303-441-3155

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