Problem Solver - August 2007
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Providing a Play Space for Everyone

We think everyone needs more play time, and we want to offer all the benefits of play in one place.

It's true: Playtime has benefits for every generation, from toddlers to seniors. In fact, there's a growing concern among health professionals about the decline in overall health of people in America. One step toward helping to improve health is to develop a destination park that attracts the entire community. Fortunately, there are plenty of innovative, creative and imaginative recreational products available to help you do just that.

The days of playgrounds that offer the simple swings and slides—and even traditional tennis and basketball courts—are gone. Specifically designed to promote fun and fitness for a multi-generational clientele, custom-designed destination parks provide outdoor play spaces with activities that satisfy a variety of interests and skill levels. Your destination park also should offer enough options so people are motivated to return time after time. The result is a state-of-the-art park that is thoughtfully designed to keep the whole family entertained and active. A mix of leisure and exercise equipment such as playgrounds for various age groups, climbing walls and boulders, skateparks and adult wellness stations will help achieve your goal.

For older kids who might get bored with standard playground equipment, climbing structures entice them with a more rigorous challenge that encourages them to try new ways to get up and down. For teenagers, skateparks are a popular attraction that build strength, flexibility and balance. They might not be running for miles or lifting weights, but they'll increase their cardiovascular and muscular strength through play and, because they're having fun, kids won't miss the television set or computer.

An additional benefit of a destination park is the boost to the local economy. It can help put a town on the map and increase traffic to other nearby businesses as residents from neighboring communities come to take advantage of the all-family play area. Plus, it might even inspire the development of other new attractions and businesses, such as stores that cater to families, skaters, bikers and walkers, which could, in turn, even serve to boost property values near the park. The snowball effect will mean that more families will move to the area, thus creating even more of an audience for your park.

One of the fears of creating a park like this is cost, but there are ways to minimize the economic strain. First, build support for the project by advocating the benefits of the park to the greater community. Once you get the thumbs-up from area residents and businesses, you'll be able to attract funds from corporate and community partners. Or work with state officials to secure grants to help build a park. Local and state political leaders are always looking for ways to improve their neighborhoods. It's important to also think ahead and plan for continued financial support that will go toward maintenance and help ensure the high quality of your park.

Playing isn't just for kids, and a multi-generational destination park goes a long way to proving that. It can help improve the financial health of a community and the physical health of people who live there.

Playworld Systems Inc.: