In July of 2023, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and Saint Paul Parks Conservancy joined a national movement to bring equity to playgrounds, The KABOOM! 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity.
“Places to play form foundational experiences for kids, and we want to make sure these places are available everywhere for our future leaders. Even in cities like St. Paul where we celebrate optimal scores for parks in communities, data guides our work to ensure we uncover and address the inequity that exists in access to quality playspaces. Together with Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and Saint Paul Conservancy, we realize there is more work to do, especially in communities of color, and we are committed to ensuring every neighborhood in the city is designed for every kid to have a happy and healthy childhood.”
— Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM.
Join the Discussion
As our readers may be aware, we have had some mildly heated discussions about playground inequity here in the Twin Cities in the comments section of our 10 Best Twin Cities Playgrounds article. While many people would prefer not to discuss these hard subjects, others have been calling for more equity for several years now. You can catch up with that conversation here. Feel free to join in, please just continue to keep it civil. We are try our best to allow for a difference of opinions, but we will edit out name calling and unkind remarks.
You spoke, Saint Paul has listened.
A leader in this new initiative, St. Paul is only the fifth city to announce its partnership with KABOOM. This year, the city begins a five-year plan to achieve playspace equity in 25 priority places, accelerating progress towards achieving KABOOM’s mission across the entire country. The collaborative goal is to raise $7.5 million to be invested into key parks through a to “address gaps in access to quality places to play in communities that disproportionately lack resources, and to help achieve the City’s goal to make Saint Paul a city that works for all”.
“Our parks and play areas offer safe, active, and engaging spaces for our entire community. This partnership will expand opportunities for children and families in our city and ensure everyone is able to play, learn, grow, and thrive.”
–St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter
Dunning Playground – The First New Playspace
While more participating parks will be announced in the coming months, Mayor Carter’s childhood playground, the Dunning Sports Complex & Recreation Center will be the first park to receive a new playground. The program will begin with input from neighborhood children and will be designed based on their drawings and suggestions.
Featured Image courtesy of KABOOM!. KABOOM! is the national nonprofit that works to end playspace inequity for good. We define playspace inequity as a lack of access to and a sense of belonging in quality playspaces due to the effects of systemic racism in communities across the country.