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''Most Playful'' Cities

The Playful City USA initiative encourages cities and towns across the U.S. to plan and commit to creating more play space for kids.

KaBOOM!'s National Campaign for Play announces the 31 founding members of the Playful City USA initiative, a program that honors cities and towns across the U.S. for a vision, plan and commitment to creating a play agenda. The member cities pledge to five play commitments:

  1. Creating a local play commission or task force
  2. Designing an annual action plan for play
  3. Conducting a play space audit
  4. Outlining a financial investment in play for the current fiscal year
  5. Proclaiming and celebrating an annual "play day."

"The innovative practices these cities adopted are a call-to-action for other municipalities across the country to rally behind proactive, city-wide agendas in support of broader physical activity and play," said Darell Hammond, co-founder and CEO of KaBOOM!

Playful City USA is about inspiring citizen action, forming partnerships and devoting money for play agendas to impact public policy through collaborative support of corporate and community resources. These civic-grounded cities are inspiring and helping build strong and healthy communities.

The founding members of Playful City USA:
Ankeny, Iowa
Atlanta, Ga.
Canton, Ga.
Cedar City, Utah
Chandler, Ariz.
Creedmoor, N.C.
Dothan, Ala.
East Cleveland, Ohio
El Paso, Texas
Gilbert, Ariz.
Greenbelt, Md.
Jamestown, N.Y.
Kenner, La.
Kerman, Calif.
Kingsburg, Calif.
Lake Charles, La.
Lake Worth, Fla.
Longview, Wash.
Mountain Grove, Mo.
New Lennox, Ill.
New Roads, La.
Norfolk, Va.
Phoenix, Ariz.
Portsmouth, Ohio
San Francisco, Calif.
San Jose, Calif.
Shirley, Mass.
Spartanburg, S.C.
Tucson, Ariz.
Wapello, Iowa
Yuma, Ariz.

A number of Playful City USA founding members have created and implemented pioneering play commitments. In San Francisco, the Department of Parks and Recreation, along with the nonprofit Neighborhood Parks Council and Mayor Gavin Newsome, created Parkscan to assess the conditions and safety of the city's playgrounds. In a city where identifying and maintaining open space can be a challenge, communities are now working together to improve and enhance failing playgrounds.

City council members in Creedmoor, N.C. have enacted legislation to ensure developers include playgrounds and open space in every new neighborhood.

Each May, residents in El Paso, Texas gather for the annual Ciclovia celebration, which closes major thoroughfares and opens them up for walking, family time and safe connections to the city's playgrounds and open space.

Along with receiving national recognition for blazing a playful trail for other cities, 2007 founding members are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $25,000 to help support one of their playful initiatives.

KaBOOM! is teaming up with America's Promise Alliance 100 Best Communities for Young People to provide one deserving city with a new playground. 100 Best is an annual competition to recognize cities and towns across the U.S. that go above and beyond for children. Communities named one of the 100 Best, and also apply to be named a Playful City USA, will be eligible to receive a new playground in their area.

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December 14, 2019, 7:49 am PDT

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