PARSONS, KS.--- The City of Parsons is recognized for playing an active role in making sure kids lead a healthy lifestyle. Parsons was designated as a "2014 Playful City USA" along with 212 other cities across the nation. "Kaboom", a national nonprofit that helps communities have more play areas, and health care company "Humana" sponsored the award. The organizations hope that by increasing the quantity and quality of play in the area, communities will be healthier and thrive.
"By making play a priority, Parsons becomes more attractive as a place for businesses to call home, as well as families," said Gary Crissman, Executive Director of Recreation.
Executive Director of Parsons Recreation Commission says receiving recognition as a 2014 Playful City USA is a great honor. More importantly, it makes the community eligible for certain grants through its sponsors, Kaboom and Humana.
"I believe they have two different grant options available. One at 15 thousand and one at 50 thousand. Generally, those go towards community built playgrounds, where you get the community involved in helping to build that area," said Crissman.
Residents we spoke with at Forest Park are hoping the Parks and Recreation Commission decides to pursue those grants.
"I think our park could maybe use a little more lighting and stuff. You know, I think it would keep it a little more safer. A lot of people walk it and stuff, you know, late at night and early in the mornings. I think maybe a little more lighting could benefit us and keep everyone safe," said Janet Bower, Parent.
Deandre Green is happy to hear that Parsons has the opportunity to work with outside agencies to promote a healthier lifestyle for area kids.
"I know that it's important to me because I know that when I grew up, we didn't really have much down here. So, meaning that they're trying to do something for the new generation makes me happy because I don't want my kids out here like that," said Deandre Green, Parent.
April Brown lives close to Glenwood Park, but says she travels across town to Forest Park so her children will have access to better facilities.
"So it would be wonderful if we actually could stay in our own area and be able to have something for our kids in walking distance, instead of having to travel. Most of the time we don't have gas to travel for our kids to come to a park. So if they could do that for us, that would be wonderful," said April Brown, Parent.
Executive director of the Parsons Recreation Commission says he's hoping they are lucky enough to receive some of the grants that Parsons is now eligible for. The goal is for all parks in Parsons to provide the same amount of safety and play features so kids will want to spend more time outside.