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Rochester New York: A Playful City USA

City Commissioner Marisol Ramos-Lopez with the city's new designation
Alex Crichton
City Commissioner Marisol Ramos-Lopez with the city's new designation

Rochester is known for its Museum of Play.

Now it's being called a Playful City USA.

That designation comes from KABOOM, a non-profit dedicated to giving kids, particularly those living in poverty, the childhood they deserve by building, opening or improving playgrounds nationwide.

City officials gathered at Conkey Corner Park to mark the occasion.

Marisol Ramos-Lopez is Commissioner of Recreation and Youth Services.

She says various neighborhood groups and others got together to take that corner back.

"We want to take it away from folks who are committing illegal activities.  and we want to make it a convening place for families. So they did this as the culmination of the El Camino Trail," she says.

The city will put up signage around Rochester that designate play areas. 

Celebrating Rochester as a playable city
Celebrating Rochester as a playable city

"We're looking at creating crosswalks that are play crosswalks, we're looking at adding some elements into our sidewalks, and within our art centers themselves and the outside grounds area to encourage play whether the center is open or not."

Having a playable city is important for Liz McCuller, city parent of a four year old.

"play is a quality of life, one in which all children should have an opportunity to explore and experience"

Officials say studies show playable cities build community, promote healthy places and foster economic development.

They also  promote physical, social and emotional development of children and families.