KaBOOM! Names McAllen Among "Playful City USA" Communities
At a time when 82 percent of parents believe children do not spend enough time outside, the City of McAllen is being recognized for taking an innovative approach to make play a priority for the health and well-being of children. McAllen is among 151 cities and towns named as a 2011 Playful City USA community by KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization dedicated to bringing play back into the lives of children.
Playful City USA recognition is based upon an application process with five commitments: creating a local play task force; designing an annual action plan for play; conducting a playspace audit of publicly accessible playspaces; identifying current spending on capital projects; and maintenance of playscaces. The self assessment process is designed to assist communities in developing a rigorous action plan driven towards increasing quality, quantity, and access for play.
“We are committed to making McAllen a safe and desirable community, and our Parks and Recreation Department’s programs and facilities are an integral part of that effort, so we remain committed to providing the resources needed to bring play to our children. The Playful City designation is a true honor,” stated Mayor Richard Cortez.
The City is now eligible to apply for over $2.1M in “Let’s Play” grants over the next three years which will provide funding to build new playgrounds in an effort to expand areas of play. Director of Parks and Recreation, Sally Gavlik, stated “It is imperative that the City provide free activities to not only promote exercise and recreation, but most importantly to offer opportunities for safe, family-centered fun.”
The City will kick-off its first official play day in conjunction with PalmFest on October 1, 2011. “We look to partner with the City in every way possible and promoting a play day during our event is just another way to engage our citizens,” stated Elva Cerda, Board President of PalmFest, Inc. A Kidsville area at PalmFest will offer a variety of fun games and activities to get kids and families healthy and active, including the HEB Fun Tent, OmniGames, and NasCar Racing. Other family- focused indoor and outdoor exhibits include: John O'Bryant’s interactive and educational magic and illusion shows, El Centro Cultural de Mexico hands-on arts and crafts, and the RGV Rails model railroad expanded exhibit.