Bloomington Named a Six-Time Playful City USA

Playful City 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2013

For more information contact
Bill Ream, Community Events Coordinator, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, reamw@bloomington.in.gov or 349-3748

Mike Vietti, KaBOOM!, mvietti@kaboom.org, (765) 320-2137 or (352) 278-0522

Bloomington, IN - Bloomington was recognized for its ongoing commitment to play when it was selected for Playful City USA designation for the sixth consecutive year.

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 parks and recreation departments, school districts, and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefiting children.

According to a statement from KaBOOM!, Bloomington was again selected for Playful City USA designation because of its outstanding dedication to play. A recent recipient of the Agency of the Year award from the Indiana Park and Recreation Association, Bloomington Parks and Recreation works to make residents playful through a variety of opportunities, including summer events like Touch a Truck and Messy Mania, and the summertime series of free concerts and movies in city parks.

"The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is proud to be able offer the community a huge variety of places to play, and fun programs to enjoy," said Bill Ream, community events coordinator with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. "We are fortunate to live and work in a city that recognizes not only the healthy benefits of play, but also supports the many organizations that prioritize play in Bloomington."

Ream added that the Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate its renewed Playful City USA status with a Play Day on Aug. 23 in Bryan Park from 6 until 8 p.m. "We'll have games, a bounce house, and other playful activities for all ages," Ream said. "At dusk that same evening, we'll show the movie "The Princess Bride" on the big screen at Bryan Park. Everyone is invited to celebrate play and to watch the free movie afterward."

Today's generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being of children.

The Playful City USA designation requires Bloomington to have an action plan for play, to conduct an audit of all publicly accessible play areas in the city, and to identify spending on building and maintaining public playspaces.

Bloomington is one of 217 communities across the country to be recognized as Playful Cities. Fishers, Fort Wayne and Franklin are Indiana's other Playful City honorees.

Bloomington's newest city park playground at RCA Community Park, 1400 W. RCA Park Dr., is slated to open in July.

In all, there are 20 playgrounds in Bloomington's city parks. The accessible 3.1-mile B-Line Trail, and more than 10 miles of natural trails at Griffy Lake, provide additional opportunities for children and families to access free playspaces.

For more information about the Playful City USA program or how Bloomington became a Playful City, contact Bill Ream at (812) 349-3748 or e-mail reamw@bloomington.in.gov.

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