257 communities exhibiting Playability to be recognized as part of 2016 Playful City USA Program
Benson is being honored with a 2016 Playful City USA designation for the third time. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable.
The Benson Parks and Recreation Department provides youth and adult athletics programs throughout the year. Fall sports include soccer and Pop Warner football. Basketball is played during the winter season. Spring sports include tee-ball, wee-ball, baseball, softball, and girls volleyball. Both cheerleading and self-defense classes are on-going throughout the year.
In addition to sports, Parks and Recreation hosts the Easter Eggstravaganza, outdoor summer movie series in the Singing Grove, summer camps, July 4th Celebration, and Fall Fun Fest. Community playgrounds are located at the Benson Civic Center on N. Johnson St., the Signing Grove, Mitchell Nance Athletic Complex, and the newly constructed Dr. PK Vyas MD Community Park.
“With a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield/ Outdoor Nation Organization, outdoor exercise equipment was purchased for the Dr. PK Vyas MD Community Park in 2014,” said Parks and Recreation Director Matt Smith. “We want to provide both active and passive play spaces for all ages and abilities in our community,” said Smith.
The Town of Benson enlisted the North Carolina State University School of Design to create a Master Plan in 2014 for the Lee Street property where the Park is located.
The Master Plan includes active and passive play spaces, additions, renovation of the gymnasium, a café, and library.
The Plan was created with community input from a series of public meetings involving children, residents, business owners, and civic leaders. Also in 2015, Johnston County Visitors Bureau created a Parks and Recreation Master Plan with a focus on regional recreation opportunities and facility construction to expand opportunities for play throughout the county.
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