National non-profit KaBOOM! announced today that Greenville is among 257 cities and towns across the United States named as 2017 Playful City USA communities. This is the seventh year that Greenville has received this honor.
Playful City USA honors cities and towns across the country for putting the needs of families first so kids can learn, grow and develop important life skills. Communities are recognized for transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents. In total, the 2017 Playful City USA communities feature more than 14,000 safe and engaging play spaces that serve more than four million kids.
According to kaBOOM!, as cities are becoming hotbeds for innovation, communities across the country are creating inventive ways to attract and retain residents. Playful City USA honorees are taking bold action to ensure kids have great places to play – all with the ultimate goal of making play the easy choice for all kids, no matter where they live. In addition to the playground down the street, Playful City USA communities are turning grocery stores, vacant lots, crosswalks and sidewalks into opportunities for play.
“We are thrilled to recognize the City of Greenville for putting kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “The well-being of our communities starts with the well-being of our kids, and play is critical for them to thrive. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all kids get the childhood they deserve filled with play.”
While there are currently 40 public play spaces in the city of Greenville, the City’s Parks & Recreation Department has implemented a variety of programs to address issues such as lack of transportation that can make it difficult for families to participate in programming and prioritize play. In 2016, the City hosted more than 180 Mobi-Rec events, with the majority (75%) in underserved neighborhoods in the city, and more than 10 Playstreet events. The City also offers a wide variety of sports leagues and recreation programs through its six community centers, which ensures that youth have opportunities to play - in their own neighborhoods – that otherwise may not have been afforded to them. The community centers also feature high-quality, affordable after-school and summer camp programs that provide children with opportunities to engage in both play and educational activities. And soon, the new park on the city’s west side will not only ease the strain on the city’s current park system but will also bring recreational opportunities to an underserved area of the city that features established neighborhoods and a recent residential construction boom.
“The City of Greenville is committed to making play a priority in our community by providing a diverse range of quality programs and services that promote fun, wellness and education in a welcoming and safe environment,” said Mari Steinbach, the City’s Parks & Recreation Department Director. “Through strategic partnerships and community collaboration, we are constantly working to remove barriers and identify innovative ways to provide programming that will positively contribute to the physical, emotional and social well-being of the children in our community.”
To see the full list of 2017 Playful City USA communities or for more information about the program, visit www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.
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Recreation Operations Administrator
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids—particularly those growing up in poverty in America—the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters and why cities are embracing #playability: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.