Alexandria was named a Playful City USA community by KaBOOM! for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children.
Playful City USA is sponsored by the Humana Foundation, advocating for local policies that improve children’s play opportunities. Alexandria was selected as one of 213 places for outstanding dedication to play. KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to preserving and creating play opportunities, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address a nationwide deficit of quality places for kids to play.
The Alexandria Childhood Obesity Action Network launched the Project Play initiative this year to raise awareness about the importance of play, improve play areas for more than 6,000 Alexandria children and ensure that all children have access to a quality playground. Many of Alexandria's youngest children are considered obese.
A-COAN, working with the city and Alexandria/Arlington Smart Beginnings, developed a playspace assessment tool and assessed 86 public and semi-public playgrounds serving children of all ages. A-COAN’s Project Play Task Force is in the process of developing recommendations based on the assessment.
The Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities has renovated three playgrounds this year and raised public-private funds to build a Miracle Field providing a rubber-like outdoor field with a cushioned surface for people using wheel chairs, walkers and similar equipment.
As part of the acknowledgement, Alexandria is eligible for $20,000 in grants from Let’s Play, a community partnership led by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, to get children and families active nationwide. Let's Play will announce grant recipients on June 4.