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Riverdale: Construction grant will buy playground equipment

The City of Riverdale was awarded a $20,000 construction grant from a national non-profit KaBOOM! The grant will allow for the city to purchase playground equipment for the city’s multi-million dollar regional park on Wilson Road. The news was revealed during Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“This is a great honor,” said Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, in a previous statement. “It shows that we are improving as a city and we have good track record with working well with youth.”

City Manger Iris Jessie, said at Monday’s meeting that the city has plans on constructing two separate playgrounds, one that will be for the younger youth, and one for the older youth.

Jessie said phase one of the park should be complete by August and will include: a new baseball field, concession space and restrooms, a football/multipurpose field, pavilions, a children’s playground, and picnic areas. Plans for the second phase, she said, include: a “Sports Complex” consisting of a baseball field with removable sports fencing, walking trails, a concession building with restrooms, a community building, and more parking.

The City of Riverdale recently earned recognition from national non-profit KaBOOM, as a 2012 Playful City USA community for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children.

Riverdale was one of 213 cities and towns from across the United States that made the list. In Henry County, Hampton, McDonough and Locust Grove also made the list. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to a child’s healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. However, today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation, in part because only 1-in-5 live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.

Playful City USA is a national program advocating for local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combatting the play deficit.

“KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the play deficit,” said Riverdale City Council Member Kenny Ruffin. “It is through mayors, city council members, parks and recreation departments, school districts and community leaders that the program succeeds in benefiting children.”

“Some of the most innovative concepts and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities,” says Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM and author of The New York Times best-seller “KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play.” “Cities like Riverdale are key allies in the fight to combat the play deficit and serve as outstanding role models for government and community leaders across the country.”