Apache Junction Recognized as 2016 Playful City USA Community

Communities Nationwide Exhibiting Playability Recognized as part of 2016 Playful City USA Program

The city of Apache Junction is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation for the first time. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. Some 257 cities or towns nationwide were recognized today by the program, including 15 in Arizona.

“Our Parks and Recreation programs provide an opportunity to play to all ages and abilities,” said Apache Junction Mayor John Insalaco. “We are very proud to be recognized as one of the nation’s Playful Cities, knowing just how important play is to all of our citizens.”

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.

“Because of the various partners in our community, like Apache Junction Unified School District, Superstition Fire and Medical District, Superstition Area Land Trust and many more, we are able to ensure that kids and adults alike in our community get the balanced and active play they need to thrive,” says Parks and Recreation Director Liz Langenbach.

Community events, recreational facilities, sports and aquatics programs, and lecture series are just a few of the opportunities for play in Apache Junction.  Most recently, the “Thank Goodness Its Friday (TGIF)” program was created as a solution to a new need in the community, resulting from the school district’s four-day schedule.  The Parks and Recreation Department and the Apache Junction Public Library collaborated with many other agencies to put a positive, fun spin on this day and TGIF became the umbrella program for many of the activities that were created to provide a safe and enriching environment for our school-aged children on Fridays.

The city’s programs and facilities are a reflection on the city’s playability. Further, the city council implemented a Youth Advisory Council this year in order to learn from the “experts” on play and community – our young people! They are currently working on naming our new downtown park and making plans for a Teen Night this summer.

“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.”

The City of Mesa, Tempe, Chandler and Town’s of Queen Creek and Gilbert were also recognized as Playful Cities by KaBOOM!. Both the City of Chandler and Town of Gilbert have been recognized the past 10 years & counting!  See full list here


Original Press Release sent via City of Apache Junction PIO Al Bravo