Pharr Honored as 2017 Playful City USA Community

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

Texas Border Business

Pharr, Texas – Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. and the Pharr City Commission are pleased to announce that the national non-profit KaBOOM! is honoring the City of Pharr, Texas 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.

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Since taking office in 2015, Mayor Hernandez has made it a priority to implement strategies, policies and outreach to promote healthy outdoor recreational activities for our youth and families.

The vision was to improve the roads and paths that lead to parks, schools, renovate three (3) city playgrounds and build nine (9) new parks, increasing every resident’s access to safe, clean spaces for balanced and active play.

With these new additions, Pharr will double the park space acreage for our families to enjoy, and promote a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle for our youth and families. In addition, to increase accessibility to play for all its citizens, in 2015, Pharr was one of the first communities to create a special-needs park in conjunction with the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD).

The project transformed land adjacent to Dr. William Long Elementary into a special needs park and playground as an inclusive experience for all children. As in all its initiatives, Pharr’s parks projects are done in partnership with various entities, including the Pharr Police Athletic League, PSJA ISD, Miracle Kids of South Texas, and the Boys and Girls Club of Pharr, among others.

Through combined leadership and vision, and always striving to put our kids first, Pharr and its partners are committed to working together to improve our children’s quality of life in the Pharr community.

“The City of Pharr continues to be a great place to live, work, and play, and we are honored by this recognition from Kaboom!” said Mayor Hernandez. “We have made it a priority to increase outdoor recreational activities for our children and families, thereby improving not only the quality of life, but also the health, wellbeing, and family enjoyment of our Pharr residents.

This is yet another exciting achievement by Pharr employees and elected officials working as a team to make Pharr a family-friendly and healthy city,” he added.

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 Pharr 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.”

For a detailed description of Pharr’s parks projects, please visit http://fy17.pharr-tx.gov/index.html. 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.