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City of Altoona Honored as 2017 Playful City USA Community

Thursday, May 18, 2017
City of Altoona staff

258 cities and towns recognized for putting the needs of kids and families first as part of Playful City USA program

ALTOONA, WI  - National non-profit KaBOOM! is honoring the City of Altoona with a 2017 Playful City USA designation for the first 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 City of Altoona has committed to improving amenities or features at park/public spaces as well as addressing behavioral barriers to play through promoting active learning programs such as United Way's "Born Learning Trail."  The Born Learning Program is an innovative and interactive trail that features ten signs which encourage parents and caregivers to follow the child's lead, building the child's curiosity, confidence and reinforce the learning already under way.  The Born Learning Trail at 10th St Park is expected to open by mid-summer 2017.

In a letter to Kaboom!, Mayor Brendan Pratt said, "The City of Altoona strongly believes that play is a critical component of kid's well-being and achievement, community health, and economic vitality.  We have committed to providing great play opportunities to residents of all ages.  Our community is invested in improvements to our park and trails infrastructure in order to better achieve that outcome.  Our City also seeks to actively program our parks with engaging and active events which provide educational benefit to our youth."

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 the City of Altoona for putting kids first," said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. "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."

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 ALTOONA, WI

The City of Altoona is flourishing and has ranked in the top 5 fastest growing cities in Wisconsin for the past three years.  Altoona is experiencing unprecedented economic and population growth due to several new residential developments, senior living facilities, a hospital, office buildings providing healthcare and financial services, grocery store, banks and retail developments including restaurants and event venue spaces.  Altoona maintains the serenity of a small town with big city amenities and is ideally located in the heart of the Chippewa Valley.  Our city offers convenient access to U.S. and interstate highways, cultural experiences, attractions, shopping and more.  Altoona is blessed with and is committed to the preservation of its abundant natural beauty.  Residents enjoy exceptional amenities because of thoughtful and deliberate community investments resulting in an excellent school district, a strong and diverse housing market, thriving neighborhoods, community parks, and year-round outdoor recreational opportunities.  Find out more about Altoona by visiting us at www.ci.altoona.wi.us, liking us at facebook.com/AltoonaWI and/or tweeting with us at twitter.com/AltoonaWI.

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.