Rebuild McKinley Playground

Councilmember Steve Cohn has already received an outpouring of support in response to a suspected arson fire at the McKinley Village playground. The fire destroyed about one-third of the play area early Saturday morning.

The donations range from a total of $10,000 coming from State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Councilmember Cohn’s Pops in the Park fund, to a 7-year-old girl who delivered lemon-aide stand money to the Councilmember in her piggy bank.

“I have been touched by the outpouring of community support. My initial reaction to the fire was one of anger, giving way to sadness, giving way to a steely determination to get this playground rebuilt as soon as possible,” Cohn said. Cohn is heading the rebuild effort together with Parks and Recreation Department staff.

To donate, make your checks payable to: “Gifts to Share/Rebuild McKinley ” (Tax ID #94-2985546) and send to: Gifts to Share, Inc., 915 I Street, 5th floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Or, donate online at and choose Rebuild McKinley from the pull-down menu.

All donations are tax deductible and no fees are deducted. The entire donation goes toward rebuilding the playground.

If you’re interested in being put on a list to volunteer for the future rebuild, please contact Cyndia Castro, the parks volunteer coordinator, at 916-808-2285, or

The City is exploring the availability of park funds and has started the process of filing an insurance claim, however, the insurance is expected only to cover the cost of replacing the damaged section. Yet, wood throughout the entire playground has aged and is due for replacement. Restoring the playground may run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Meetings with community members are being planned to get feedback about potential rebuilding plans and associated costs.

In the meantime, demolition of the charred remains will begin in August and is expected to be completed by Labor Day.

Post courtesy of Council Member Cohn’s office.

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3 Responses to Rebuild McKinley Playground

  1. POINT OF CLARITY REQUEST TO COUNCILMAN COHN: On a business note, I did ask Councilman Steve Cohn to please clarify with the public that the non-profit he has asked folks to contribute to DOES incur administration costs. I am not sure of the percentage, but usually this data is made completely transparent and easily found. I am interested in the business model the city is using in which interest accruing in their non-profit’s account is used to pay the administration fees. Depending on the details, I may be very impressed. However, I do think complete transparency is owed to the public. As was explained to me in my meeting with him on Tuesday the city’s tax-exempt non-profit does spend money generated off of donations on administration fees, its just in the form of interest accruing on idle donations. To be fair almost ALL non-profits have to spend money on these administration costs. East Sac Give Back does not pay ANY administration fees. I have pledged to even pay the 5% cut charges per transaction out of my own personal account. Currently, we have surpassed the $3,000 mark, which is over 3x’s our goal and includes donations from people who do not even live in Sacramento anymore. AMAZING! Many, many thanks.

    Michael Eugene Saeltzer
    President, East Sac Give Back

    • admin says:

      Your work collecting donations is outstanding, and the waving of administration fees very generous! Thank you. I know every cent will help the city and volunteers rebuild. Administration costs are always a concern. I think folks will be even more comfortable giving to East Sac Give Back once you are a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity. Great work on collecting the donations!

      • Thanks, I just spoke to the IRS Agent Corrinna ID number 1000145486 who states that if the application for charitable 501(c)3 is received/approved within the first 27 months of incorporation all donations ARE tax deductible going back to the date the organization incorporated which for East Sac Give Back was 5/7/12. See and look us up by name. This means that all donations we have received thus far will indeed be tax deductible IF/WHEN we are approved as a 501(c) as long as that approval happens before 8/7/2014.