Brownsville is being honored with a 2015 Playful City USA designation for the third time. The national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable.
The City of Brownsville has worked to make play areas more accessible to neighborhoods. For example, the City is currently working on the construction of the Southmost Hike & Bike Trail, a 1.8 mile trail that will provide residents safe passage to businesses and local schools while promoting active living. The City received $159,000 in grant funding, and completion of Phase I is expected in December 2015. Additionally, the City opened the Bike Barn in 2013 to provide a place where community members can learn about bike maintenance, bike safety and provide individuals with a positive reward system. The volunteer-run Bike Barn is the Rio Grande Valley’s only earn-a bike program.
“How many of us don’t long for those unending days of exploring our world through play? Science has proven that play is important to developing imagination and physical and cognitive strength,” said Mayor Tony Martinez. “For me, riding my bicycle on our trails not only brings joy but offers and opportunity to clear my mind and problem-solve. Adults need play too. The City is continuously working to offer more choices for residents of all ages to experience play in their neighborhoods.”
Hopscotch sidewalks, structured recess programs, mandated neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days and mobile recreation vehicles are all ways in which these communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents.
“Playability is crucial to the success of our future communities, and we are proud of the work these cities and leaders are doing to provide a better quality of life for all residents, and especially families,” says KaBOOM! President, James Siegal. “Play provides a competitive advantage for cities looking to attract and retain residents. With these esteemed leaders, and our friends and partners across the country, we continue to prioritize play for all kids.”
To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org. We also encourage you to take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook.