August 18, 2010

Honoring this year's most playful cities

Is your city playful? We’re excited to announce our 2010 Playful City USA communities, whose leaders and residents are stepping up to support play despite deep budget cuts to Park and Recreation departments nationwide.

Playful City USA is a national recognition program honoring cities and towns that are committed to keeping their children healthy by providing the time and space for play.

Each of this year’s 118 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to the cause of play. A primary goal of Playful City USA is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts, and programs in an effort to increase play opportunities for children. Some particularly innovative initiatives include:

  • Casa Grande (Ariz.) – offers Positive Lunch Activities for Youth (P.L.A.Y.) program benefiting 6th-8th grade students who no longer have access to play equipment.
  • Dothan (Ala.) – uses a “community build” process for all playground construction, which builds community cohesion and spirit, but also saves 20-25% on overall cost.
  • Indianapolis – launched “Get Fit Indy” challenge this summer, designed to encourage children to be active for 60 minutes per day while eating nutritiously.
  • Orlando – increased the quantity of playspaces by developing joint-use agreements with the local school district to open school recreation facilities to the public during non-school hours.
  • Takoma Park (Md.) – created Traveling Playgroups to meet and provide residents with recreational information at different facilities throughout the city, while collecting citizen feedback on improvement needs.

To find out if your hometown made the cut, see our list of 2010 Playful City USA communities.

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