First ever Mound Park Games seeks tournament participants


PORTSMOUTH—The first ever Mound Park Games are slated to kick off on Saturday, August 13th to raise money for new playground equipment and, ultimately, overall improvements to the park and neighborhood.

Mound Park has been largely bare of playground equipment since the park’s main wooden play structures were demolished due to safety concerns in November of 2021.

Jay Daehler, co-founder of the Hilltop Initiative Neighborhood Association, thinks that the park is long overdue for some sprucing up. He and the Hilltop Initiative have some big dreams for the space.

And with new playground equipment being the perfect place to start, Daehler and the Hilltop Initiative hope that the first annual Mound Park Games will help bring them closer to their financial goals for the complex project.

“The park that we intend to build is easily a six-figure number,” Daehler explained. “Another thing to consider is the archaeological costs. We just want to make sure that we do everything respectfully to the [Native American] Tribes. The archaeological expenses so far, for a bid just to do a scan of the park, is about $30,000. We want to be good fiduciaries of everyone’s donation, but we also want to be respectful of the ancient societies.”

Daehler was inspired by his own nostalgic memories of Mound Park as he set out to plan the Games. By offering tournament events as part of the action, participants can enjoy Mound Park as it was intended: a beautiful space where the community can play, relax, and come together.

“Our goal is just to get as many people in the park for a day of positivity. Get everyone there, remind people how beautiful that space is; it’s the largest green space in the largest neighborhood in the county, and it doesn’t have a playground. We want to be able to show the need for that,” Daehler said.

From 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on August 13th, the community will be able to gather in support of the Mound Park Games. And if they’re in a competitive mood, they can register to play in one of the three tournaments offered for the day: Kickball, pickleball, and cornhole tournaments will run throughout the day.

While attending the Mound Park Games is free, there is a $10 per person charge to register for the respective tournaments, and Daehler says that he and the Hilltop Initiative are looking forward to more registrants as the Games draw closer.

Participants wishing to register for any of the tournaments can do so by visiting the Hilltop Initiative Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page and following the Evenbrite registration link.

The Mound Park Games are sure to have activities for the whole family to enjoy, with vendors and plenty more events planned for the community.

“We are also going to have inflatables for the kids, and food vendors and other vendors. We are going to have Staci Weaver, who wants to help in doing some kids’ yoga sessions at a tent in the park. She is also going to get some volunteers for [childcare], so if you want to play kickball but can’t find someone to watch the kids, we’ve got that taken care of,” Daehler explained.

A demonstration from a GellyBall business and local dart league will also round out the festivities at the park. Daehler hopes that the exciting day planned will help the community remember Mound Park in a positive light and be inspired to help improve it.

“There’s so many memories of Mound Park that all of us share,” Daehler said “We just want to continue to be a light of positivity, and people shouldn’t and can’t be scared of our park. We want to do the exact opposite. We want to be welcoming.”

Tournament players and business sponsors are still needed for the upcoming event. For more updates about the first annual Mound Park Games, follow the Hilltop Initiative Neighborhood Association on Facebook, visit their Evenbrite link to register for tournament competition, or for more information email [email protected].

The Mound Park Games will take place in Mound Park located on the block of Grandview and Hutchins in Portsmouth on Saturday, August 13th, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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