Decatur honored as 2017 Playful City USA communityFile Photo: Jonathan Phillips Diogo Richards hangs out on the barrel of the cannon outside of the historic courthouse during the AJC Decatur Book Festival on Saturday, August 30, 2014. The ninth annual event saw tens of thousands of people come out to the downtown Decatur area to meet with world-class authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, booksellers, and artists for a weekend filled with literature, music, food, art, and fun. /File Photo
Decatur’s colorful sidewalks, engaging parks and bright murals have earned it a designation as a 2017 Playful City USA community.
Playful City USA is a “recognition program honoring cities and towns that ensure that kids in their communities, particularly kids from low-income families, get the balanced and active play they need to thrive,” according to their website.
To receive recognition, cities must be “transforming ordinary places into playful spaces and using play as a solution to the challenges facing their residents.”
According to James Siegal, CEO of KaBOOM!, the company that runs Playful City USA, Decatur was one of 258 cities that met that standard.
“We are thrilled to recognize City of Decatur for putting kids first,” Siegal said. “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.”
The city offers “various safe and engaging play spaces within the parks and greenspaces,” according to a press release from the program. The city also took a more creative approach to turn a vacant area into an opportunity for play.
Decatur is joined by Atlanta, Columbus, Fairburn and Savannah as designated cities in Georgia. Cities across the country were also recognized.
Mayor Patti Garrett believes Decatur deserves the honor.
“I can’t think of a better designation for the City of Decatur! Using public art, parks, playgrounds and spaces such as our new MARTA mural and KaBOOM! playspace, the city strives to offer a variety of places to stop, be playful, have fun and engage with friends and neighbors,” she said. “We are proud to be a Playful City!”