Play champions urged City Council to put kids first by building a playable city

Play champions urged City Council to put kids first by building a playable city

November 22, 2016

A group of play advocates brought 624 postcards to City Council that shared community members' visions for a more playable Rochester.

Advocates for play urged Rochester’s City Council to put kids first in the city’s comprehensive plan update to ensure Rochester is the best city to live, work and play.

On Nov. 15, community organizers, parents and children from across the City of Rochester shared with City Council their vision for the need for safer, more accessible places to play.

The advocacy effort was led by the Healthi Kids Coalition, an initiative of Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, as part of the PlayROCs campaign.

Participants delivered to council members 624 postcards that share community members’ visions for a more playable Rochester. The speakers urged City Council include language in the comprehensive plan that supports safer neighborhoods and play spaces; slowing down traffic to ensure all children have safe routes to play; and ensuring children of all ages and abilities have an accessible place to play.

Luisa Morris, 11, of Rochester speaks to City Council about putting kids first in the city's comprehensive plan update.

“Play isn’t trivial,” Health Kids’ Policy and Research Associate Jenn Beideman told City Council. “Having play spaces in neighborhoods and in our city is about a quality of life to residents. Children who play every day are healthier, do better at school, have reduced feelings of depression and anxiety, and have stronger social emotional skills. Despite all of these benefits, many children across the City of Rochester do not have safe and accessible places to play.”

Advocates told council that every child in the City of Rochester should have the right to a safe place to play, walk and bike in their neighborhood.

They also noted that:

•             A playable city creates healthy places – playful infrastructure can be extended beyond parks and playgrounds to encourage physical movement during every day activities such as waiting for a bus or walking to work/school.

Annalie Flanigan, 11, of Rochester speaks to City Council about putting kids first in the city's comprehensive plan update.

•             A playable city fosters economic development – a report by Active Living Research says that cities that are designed to support play and physical activity experience improved business and job growth, increased tax revenue, lowered crime rates, and increased civic engagement and volunteerism.

•             A playable city builds community – the growing interest in rethinking how our city and neighborhoods incorporate play infrastructure increases the usability of public spaces, encourages intergenerational activity and encourages multi-modal, inclusive and activated streetscapes.

For details on PlayROCs, visit www.playrocs.org.

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WROC-TV Parents push for more playgrounds in city's comprehensive plan

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