WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oak Park Heights was one of 217 cities nationally and four in Minnesota earning recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to give children the childhood they deserve by providing ample opportunities for play.
KaBOOM! selected Oak Park Heights for its outstanding dedication to play. The city has worked to have a playground within three blocks walking distance of every city neighborhood. Each of these playgrounds serves the needs of children ages 1-12 years.
Understanding that citizen engagement is key to keeping Oak Park Heights parks maintained, the city regularly uses volunteers from the community for enhancement and improvement projects.
“The quality of life available in the City of Oak Park heights is greatly improved by the numerous trail-ways, parks and summer programming events and that participating in the Playful City USA organization is an excellent fit towards maintaining such qualities as well as an enhanced sense of community,” said Mayor Mary McComber.
Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.
KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve by bringing play to those who need it most, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the lack of play and it is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefiting children.
The 217 Playful City USA honorees range in size from seven-time honorees such as San Francisco and Spartanburg, S.C., to first-time recipient Ellsworth, Kan. (population: 3,100).
Each of the 2013 Playful City USA communities demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the lack of play among children. Playful City USA celebrates and highlights these unique initiatives developed by communities across the country. 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.