Lincoln has received a 2017 Playful City USA designation by the national non-profit organization KaBOOM!. Lincoln was the first city in Nebraska to be named a Playful City when it received the designation in 2014, and this is the fourth consecutive year Lincoln has been recognized for its efforts to make the community more playable. The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department are two of the City departments that involved in the community effort to promote the importance of play.
Melissa Lindeman, Parks and Recreation Department Program Monitor, said the Playful City designation supports Lincoln's goal to be the healthiest city in the country. In 2013, Mayor Chris Beutler challenged the community to make healthy living a top priority and called on young people and adults to get more physical activity and make healthy food choices.
"Reducing childhood obesity in an important goal for the City of Lincoln, and play is a key component to reaching that goal," Lindeman said. "The Party in the Parks and Play in the Parks programs were created to encourage the entire community to use parks, trails and open spaces for the purpose of improving individual and community health." .
Lincoln families are invited to celebration National Kids to Parks Day by participating in the season's first Party on the Plaza from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at Union Plaza. A calendar of the free Party in the Parks events is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov.
"We are thrilled to recognize Lincoln 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." For more information about KaBOOM! and to see the full list of all 258 Playful City USA communities, visit kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.