Columbia named Playful City

sellis@thestate.comMay 30, 2014 

Bikers take a warm-up lap during last July's Youth Emporium Big Ten Bike-a-Thon Tour, a series of health-related events at the city's Drew Park in Columbia. Kids rode their bikes between Drew Park and Finlay Park.

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Children looking for fun play opportunities this summer are in luck to be living in Columbia, which has been named a 2014 Playful City USA by a national health foundation.

The city has more than 600 acres of parkland, 30 playgrounds, 55 tennis courts and 16 city pools, spray pads and ponds that are part of what has made the community a place for children to have easy access to balanced and active play, city officials say.

Being recognized as a Playful City demonstrates that there is an emphasis on active living in Columbia, said Jeff Caton, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

“Our ability to get kids active and create active lifestyle behaviors is important to the long-term health of the community,” Caton said.

Columbia is one of 212 cities and towns around the nation to receive the distinction from KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation. It is the city’s first time being recognized as a Playful City. Columbia joins four other South Carolina cities, including Greenville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill and North Charleston, on the list of honorees.

“We are committed to providing services and programs in our parks that will benefit our citizens, especially our youth,” City Manager Teresa Wilson said in a news release. “This is great news and we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy our wonderful parks this summer.”

Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.

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