National non-profit KaBOOM! is honoring Charlotte, NC with a 2017 Playful City USA designation for the third time. 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. These communities are transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents.
The 2017 Playful City USA recognition includes 258 communities from Richmond, Virginia to Richmond, California that make it as easy as possible for kids to play. In total, these communities feature more than 14,000 safe and engaging playspaces that serve more than 4 million kids.
Charlotte’s residents have benefitted from numerous play initiatives over the last year, including the opening of Ramsey Creek Beach Park in May 2016, and the refurbishing of basketball courts in Latta Park in October 2016; both projects were led by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department. Charlotte also hosted three Open Streets 704 events over the past year, which temporarily closed streets to automobile traffic so that people could use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and meeting their neighbors.
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 Charlotte 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.”
To see the full list of Playful City USA communities and to learn more about making play the easy choice for kids, visit kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.
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