Living Streets Alliance is pleased to announce that we’ve been selected as a finalist in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will award outside-the-box ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families in cities across the U.S. The Challenge is hosted by KaBOOM!, a national organization dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all children, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.
In working closely with Pueblo Gardens Elementary, a Safe Routes to School Tucson (SRTS) focus school, the proposed project put forth by LSA is to create an interactive, fun corridor along Menor Stravenue which connects families to Pueblo Gardens Elementary school, the Boys and Girls Club, and Pueblo Gardens park. The project is based on recommendations in the school’s Safe Routes to School Travel Plan, completed earlier this year by Toole Design Group, city of Tucson engineers, the SRTS Tucson team, and Pueblo Gardens’ students and families. In order to address traffic safety concerns and to increase visibility of children walking and biking to school, the project incorporates low-cost treatments like painted intersections, curb extensions, and enhanced playful crosswalks which provide visual cues for motorists to slow down. The “Playful Gardens Footpath” fills the route to school with painted sidewalk games and play stations made from re-purposed materials which invite movement and interaction that will make the normal walk to school, wondrous and unique.
At the heart of this project is creating a quality public space with and for the people of the neighborhood. The project proposal includes engaging the school youth as art leaders and interviewing long-time residents to inspire the asphalt artwork reflecting the history of Pueblo Gardens. A Fall Festival Block Party would launch the project with tree planting and community art. Seth Aleshire, the principal at Pueblo Gardens Elementary School and a Safe Routes to School champion is excited at the potential of creating a beautiful space that students traverse every day, “We have no buses bringing students in from other communities and our students must navigate our surrounding streets daily…If this grant is funded, it will be a community service project that not only seeks to keep our students safe but will bring the children and families together to be a part of the revitalization that this historical, hardworking, and incredibly resilient neighborhood has earned.”
KaBOOM! will announce the grant winners at end of August and if chosen, this project will be completed by December 2016. We want to give our appreciation to the supporters of this project, including Ward 5 Councilmen Richard Fimbres, Trees for Tucson, the University of Arizona’s Prevention Research Center, and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Rendering by Gabby Jehle