The City of Oakley is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. The recognition is given to communities that make it easy for all kids to get balanced and active play through programs, policies and infrastructure.
Oakley’s playful endeavors include progressive planning efforts that ensure that each new residential development includes adequate play spaces, a Youth Empowerment Program that give gives middle and high school students an opportunity to have a voice in the planning and implementation of programs and policies by their participation in the Oakley Youth Advisory Council, having been the first City in East Contra Costa County to install an All Abilities Playground (universally accessible playground) that engages children of all abilities, through wheelchair access points and interactive areas for children with hearing or visual impairments.
Furthermore, we aim to make fun available to all members of our community by offering income qualified scholarships which can reduce the cost of programs by 50%. The City also partners with You, Me, We Oakley to expand programs and inclusion of diverse populations through translated outreach, cultural performances at events, education exhibits, art shows, workshops and citizenship drives.
This award was also due to strong and exemplary partnerships through the Joint Use Agreement with the School District, to help keep school play areas open for public access during non-school hours. These partnerships also extend into programming, Science Week being one example. The City also partners with Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and East Bay Regional Park District on projects to maintain and access to parks, open space, trails and the creek. Recently, a million dollar grant from the California River Parkways Grant Program allowed from 3.5 acres of creek adjacent to Creekside Park to be restored in collaboration with the help of Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed and American Rivers. The restoration site can be visited by residents that live near the Marsh Creek Glenn Park who now have a connection to the East Bay Regional Parks District multi-use trail via a new pedestrian bridge that was installed over Marsh Creek.
Kudos are also extended to the adopt–a-park partners including Cub Scout Pack 152, Living Options and New Lifeline Ministries for their added help in keeping three of our parks clean and playable.
“As a City Council we have strived to provide an abundance of recreation programs and parks facilities and celebrate this recognition as a Playful City USA community,” stated Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick.
Communities across the country are creating innovative ways to bring back play and attract residents through family friendly activities. Interactive sidewalk art, designated play spaces on trails and the transformation of schoolyards into active play areas are just a few examples of how cities are becoming more playful.
“We are thrilled to recognize these communities that have invested their time and efforts to put kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “Balanced and active play is crucial to the well-being of kids and the communities that they thrive in. By integrating play into cities, the leaders of Playful Cities USA are working to attract and retain the thousands of families that want homes in close proximity to safe places to play.”
Our geographic location provides many recreation and play opportunities through access to trails, parks, events, and recreational programs. Make sure you’re fully enjoying all that is available by visiting our website www.ci.oakley.ca.us.
To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 257 communities named 2016 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org. We also encourage you to take part in the conversation on #playability with these thought leaders on Twitter and Facebook.
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 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 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: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.