HENDERSON, KY, May 17, 2017 – For the third consecutive year, the City of Henderson has been awarded the Playful City USA designation from KaBoom!, a national non-profit organization.
KaBoom!’s mission is to create places to play, to inspire communities to promote and support play and drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives.
Henderson is one of 258 communities in the nation – from Richmond, Va., to Richmond, Calif. -- and one of 10 in Kentucky to achieve the Playful City USA designation for 2017. The list was released on Wednesday.
Other Kentucky communities on the list are Beaver Dam, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Murray, Owensboro, Pikeville, Simpsonville, Tompkinsville and Williamstown.
“The Henderson Parks and Recreation Department is making special efforts to provide all members of our community with safe and appropriate opportunities for play,” said Director Trace Stevens.
There were three main factors that contributed to Henderson’s selection: The new East End Park, new accessible playground areas at Central and Newman Park and the addition of the Canoe Creek Nature Trail at Newman Park.
“A focus of this administration has been on the citizens living in the East End. For children who live in that area, a new playground was constructed as the first phase of a new neighborhood park that contains a spray pad and other park amenities for those children and their families.”
“This park was designed to be a cornerstone of the redevelopment and revitalization of this old neighborhood,” he added.
This will be the first full summer of operation for the East End Park spray pad, which officially opened late last summer.
Spurred on by a Henderson Leadership Initiative project group, Central Park and Newman Park also received upgrades late last season of accessible playground equipment.
“These new playgrounds were designed to address mobility, sensory, visual and other special needs,” Stevens added.
The Canoe Creek Nature Trail at Newman Park also opened last fall.
The 4.2-mile loop trail allows hikers to trek alongside Canoe Creek and observe the flora and fauna of wetlands. The new route also has a few foot bridges traversing ditches and streams feeding into Canoe Creek. The trail has changes in elevation that make it a moderate hiking experience.
“The trail allows all members of the community the opportunity to enjoy a recreational walk through a nature setting while still within the City,” Stevens added, noting that the trailhead is easily accessible.
The Parks director said that the City of Henderson is making strides not only in including all children in the community when planning community parks but also in renovating existing parks and playgrounds in the Henderson Parks and Recreation system.
The 24 public spaces maintained by the City offer several playgrounds, a golf course, a swimming pool (with wading pool, water slide and waterfall), a downtown water feature, basketball courts, tennis courts, disc golf course, soccer fields, skate parks, baseball fields, a dog park and more.