Oak Ridge Honored as 2017 Playful City USA Community

May 23, 2017

National non-profit KaBOOM! is honoring Oak Ridge with a 2017 Playful City USA designation for the 6th time. Playful City USA honors cities and towns across the country for putting the needs of families first so kids can learn, grow and develop important life skills. These communities are transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents.

The 2017 Playful City USA recognition includes 258 communities from Richmond, Virginia, to Richmond, California, that make it as easy as possible for kids to play. In total, these communities feature more than 14,000 safe and engaging playspaces that serve more than 4 million kids.

“The Playful City designation indicates that we in Oak Ridge take pride in the numerous activities that involve play,” City Manager Mark Watson said. “Whether a hike through our natural wooded areas and greenbelts or taking a kayak ride on Melton Hill Lake or mountain biking on Haw Ridge, the varied activities that we have in this community make us a great place to live and a Playful City.”

“This award is earned each year by our hard working staff and would not be possible without their can-do attitude,” Director of the City’s Recreation and Parks Department Jon Hetrick added. “The Recreation and Parks Department works tirelessly throughout the year to inspect and protect playgrounds, parks and trail areas enjoyed by everyone. Our crew also hosts regular special events, like the City’s Halloween Party, the egg hunt in the park, Civic Center Family Day, Scarboro Family Share Day, and many other activities.”

As cities are becoming hotbeds for innovation, communities across the country are creating inventive ways to attract and retain residents. Playful City USA honorees are taking bold action to ensure kids have great places to play – all with the ultimate goal of making play the easy choice for all kids, no matter where they live. In addition to the playground down the street, Playful City USA communities are turning grocery stores, vacant lots, crosswalks and sidewalks into opportunities for play.

“We are thrilled to recognize Oak Ridge for putting kids first,” KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal said. “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.”

Visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department website at orrecparks.oakridgetn.gov for more information on the City’s parks, playgrounds and indoor spaces for play. To see the full list of Playful City USA communities and to learn more about making play the easy choice for kids, visit kaboom.org/playfulcityusa. You can also take part in the conversation with leaders across the country using #PLAYceforkids on Twitter and Facebook.


About KaBOOM!

KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids—particularly those growing up in poverty in America—the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters and why cities are embracing #playability: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.