WXXI AM News

‘Play Walk’ opens between MLK Park and Central Library

Oct 24, 2019

A new route between The Strong Museum of Play and the Central Library officially opened in Rochester on Thursday.

The sidewalks are sprinkled with blue and yellow dots. There’s a new foosball table at the library. (“I just happen to love foosball,” City Council parks and public works committee chair Mitch Gruber said at a news conference to mark the opening.)

Elson Difiore and Mayor Lovely Warren play a newly installed xylophone at Martin Luther King Jr. Park as part of the Play Walk installation that connects The Strong Museum of Play to the Central Library, as state Assembly member Harry Bronson and Sen. Joseph Robach look on.
Credit Max Schulte / WXXI News

There’s a large Connect Four game at a bus stop on Court Street, and there are musical instruments open to the public at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

“You can’t stop,” said 8-year-old West Steele after giving the xylophone a try. “You want to keep on doing it.”

West said he wanted to come back and play here more often.

That’s exactly the point, said Jenn Beideman of Common Ground Health.

“We know play isn’t trivial. We know play is critical to the health of our community and to our kids, and we know that cities that play every day are healthier. They promote urban growth and revitalization ... and actually bring community together,” she said.

Common Ground Health secured funding for the pathway from KaBOOM, a nonprofit organization that issues grants aimed at fostering safe spaces for children to play.

The city said the walkway, a bit more than a quarter-mile long, makes a new connection between the Museum of Play and the riverfront. The goal is to encourage people to be active and make downtown welcoming for children and families.