McAllen, TX October 20, 2016 – Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and national non-profit KaBOOM! awarded McAllen Public Library a $15,000 Let’s Play Community Construction Grant. The competitive grant award will be used to build a playground north of the Main Library on Orchid Avenue to further enhance the city’s playability, beautify the area, and offer more spaces for children and families to enjoy the outdoors.
The grant is part of Let’s Play, an initiative by DPS to provide kids and families with the tools, places, and inspiration to make active play a daily priority. Unstructured, child-directed play has proven to help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. As a result of expanded Let’s Play grants and projects, more than 1 million kids will benefit from new or improved playgrounds around the nation by the end of 2016.
The playground, which will be partially assembled with the help of volunteers, is designed to offer children sensory-rich experiences through play components, activity panels, a ramping system, and slides. The structure is meant to bring children of all abilities together to be active, learn through play, create memories, and form friendships. This is the first phase of the Orchid Avenue Beautification Project that once completed, will include a monarch butterfly garden, picnic benches, and shade structures.
The Orchid Avenue Beautification Project will complement another grant-funded KaBOOM! initiative, the Metro McAllen Swing-and-Ride Project. Currently under construction on the south side of the library on Nolana Avenue, the Swing-and-Ride Project will renovate a bus stop into a place of enjoyment for children waiting for public transportation. Swing-and-Ride will offer oversized musical instruments, a brightly colored swing set, painted sidewalks and walls with fun games and activities such as hopscotch, short mazes, and exercise routines.
“Transforming public spaces into play areas is pretty unique and will only supplement McAllen’s traditional park system,” said Mayor Jim Darling. McAllen Public Library Director Kate Horan added, “And we are excited to provide the community with these outdoor spaces that stimulate play, learning, and the imagination.”
DPS launched Let’s Play in 2011 with a $15 million commitment to KaBOOM! to build or improve 2,000 playgrounds. In 2014, Dr Pepper Snapple and KaBOOM! extended their partnership through 2016 with an additional $10 million commitment from DPS to continue providing kids with the active play they need.
Visit Let’s Play at www.LetsPlay.com to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make communities more active and playful.