Time to Play!
Posted on August 30, 2018 at: 11:49 pm
Play Streets temporarily closes a neighborhood block to traffic and provides play equipment to create safe, fun, and healthy spaces for children, families and neighbors to connect.
In the summer of 2017, following outrage of numerous shootings including that of a 6-year-old boy who marked the ninth child to be struck by gunfire in the city that year, the Chronic Disease and Healthy Living Task Force of the Wilmington/Claymont Healthy Neighborhoods recognized that creating safe and nurturing collective spaces is paramount to healthy living. As a result, the Wilmington Play Streets initiative was launched in Summer 2018, thanks to funding from ChristianaCare and leadership from Wilmington Parks and Recreation.
In the summer of 2018, Play Streets was held each Monday through Thursday, rotating across eight neighborhoods for 26 total events, drawing 64 people on average. The Parks and Recreation Department delivered equipment like balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, portable basketball hoops, soccer goals, mini-golf tees, and badminton nets for unstructured play. Additional City departments and units including Public Works, Wilmington Police Dept., Community Outreach, Finance, Communications, the Mayor’s Office, and City Council work together with Parks and Recreation to help make the program happen. coordinated an interdisciplinary team of UD students and faculty to collect data and gather information to tell the story of Play Streets, while working closely with UD Cooperative Extension who helped plan logistics and activity hubs with over 20 community partners.
In the summer of 2019, Wilmington Play Streets held over twenty Play Streets events and nearly tripled participation rates from the summer prior. Over 20 community partners including community centers, churches, sports leagues, produce stands, non-profits, social services, youth-serving organizations, healthcare providers, schools and local businesses are coordinated to provide services (i.e. healthy meals, water, music, health
screenings, EMT services, structured activity hubs, and volunteer support).
- DHSS Facebook Page Video: Playstreets Event, June 9, 2018
- 5/22/18 News Journal Article: Wilmington to throw block parties in crime-ridden neighborhoods to promote health
- Summer Play Streets Program Returns to City Neighborhoods Beginning Today
- UDaily article and UD College of Health Sciences video on Partnership for Healthy Communities Play Streets Summer 2019 Fellowship
- ChristianaCare 2019 Community Healthy Needs Assessment (see p. 33 for Wilmington Playstreets info.)