City of McAllen News

McAllen Honored as 2017 Playful City USA Community: 258 cities and towns recognized for putting the needs of kids and families first as part of Playful City USA program

by Office of Communications | May 17, 2017


[McAllen, TX] – National non-profit KaBOOM! is honoring McAllen, Texas with a 2017 Playful City USA designation for the second 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.


For the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department, playtime is a way of life.  While McPARD boasts a roster of 86 parks, multiple splash parks, miles of Hike & Bike Trails, and even, multiple after-school and summer programs, it is its innovative recreation programs and events that helped the city earn this distinction once again.  


Programs like the McAllen B-Cycle, with approximately 65 of bikes around town that can be rented by the community; the newly initiated Kids’ Marathon, by partnering with the McAllen I.S.D. and multiple media partners to encourage children in McAllen to stay active and healthy by running 26 miles over the course of a four month period; the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties designation; the weekly McAllen Farmers Market at the McAllen Public Library that features healthy, locally grown produce; the recently opened Metro McAllen Swing & Ride Bus Stop, that allows kids and adults to play while waiting for the bus stop; or by hosting the Summer Games of Texas in McAllen for the second year in a row, are just some of the many initiatives that help McAllen stand out as a true Playful City.


“Kids and adults can truly find a place to play in McAllen,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “Our community is designed to create play space and recreational opportunities at every corner around town. Anyone, no matter their age, can find plenty of play time in the great city of McAllen.”


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 Mcallen 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 You can also take part in the conversation with leaders across the country using #PLAYceforkids on Twitter and Facebook.


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