A new airplane-themed playground at Del Valle Park, an innovative parent-child fitness playground at Rynerson Park, and a continued emphasis on family and youth play has helped Lakewood garner its seventh straight Playful City USA award from the national recreation organization, KaBOOM!.
Lakewood was one of only 30 cities in California and 257 cities nationwide to receive the national designation on May 18 by the non-profit organization KaBOOM!. The awards promote children’s recreation and the development of more places for children to play.
Lakewood’s Playful City USA strengths included:
• The city’s commitment to maintaining and improving its parks.
• Daily safety inspections that Lakewood staff perform at every park playground.
• Going beyond the playground for play opportunities with between 75 and 125 youth classes offered seasonally.
• Free After-School Activity Zones operated year-round at Lakewood parks, where children can play, do homework and take part in sports leagues, all in a supervised setting.
• The 60th anniversary of the Lakewood Youth Sports program this year. LYS is organized by the city and uses volunteer coaches to provide play opportunities to thousands of youth.
“It's great to be named Playful City USA again,” said Mayor Ron Piazza. “Lakewood is a wonderful place to live and work...and be playful. At the heart of our city are safe places for children to play, including 12 parks and 18 playgrounds. Since the city’s founding in 1954, Lakewood hasn’t wavered from its commitment to recreation. Elementary schools and city parks are located within residential areas, encouraging short walks for education and play. And the parks in Lakewood bond residents to their neighborhood and create a true sense of community.”
“We are thrilled to recognize Lakewood and the other Playful City USA communities that have invested their time and efforts to put kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “Balanced and active play is crucial to the well-being of kids and the communities that they thrive in. By integrating play into cities, the leaders of Playful Cities USA are working to attract and retain the thousands of families that want homes in close proximity to safe places to play.”
Go to http://kaboom.org/playability/playful_city_usa/celebrate for more information on the Playful City USA program.
For ideas on taking advantage of the opportunities for play in Lakewood, go to www.lakewoodcity.org/recreation or call Lakewood recreation staff at 562-866-9771, extension 2408.