Rochester Takes Back their Public Spaces with PlayROCs your Neighborhood

by HealthiKids on Friday, August 19, 2016 8:57 AM

Rochester Takes Back their Public Spaces with PlayROCs your Neighborhood

On Saturday, July 16, 2016 over 14 neighborhood associations, block clubs, community organizations, neighborhoods, business owners and residents hosted their own play day to raise awareness for the need for safe and accessible places to play in the City of Rochester. Over 1,000 kids, families and adults came out to celebrate play and join in the fun!

The twelve sites across the city in all four quadrants demonstrated how together we can bring back play to our neighborhoods.  Healthi Kids provided a play day toolkit, which walked through the play day process from getting a permit, to advertising support, social media outreach and most importantly – inexpensive game ideas! Rec on the Move, R-Center staff, the 5210 Street team and Eazywork Youth Fit Camp helped organizers activate their spaces, and Foodlink’s Curbside Market stopped by to offer some fresh and local fruits and veggies to several sites.

In the Southwest quadrant  

New Era Rochester took over Hobart St and hosted a fun block party for kids and adults of all ages – they painted tires and used pool noodles to create an obstacle course, and had the Rochester Fire Department’s Truck #5 stop by for the day.

The Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Association created a space where they envision the “Exchange St. Park” to be built.  PLEX highlighted the importance of intergenerational play by providing a number of board games so seniors at Kennedy Tower could join in the fun too!


James Dobson Apartments set up basketball, blocks, and board games for residents in their parking lot! The playful parking lot allowed residents to come outside, enjoy the weather, and play together in a safe environment. Rec on the Move also stopped in to help activate the space and lead some interactive games.


Phillis Wheatley Library entertained library patrons by providing free games, books and snacks to visitors! Youth decorated the sidewalks with spray chalk and sidewalk chalk, and hosted silly races by hopping their way down the pathway with a ball between their legs.

In the Northwest quadrant: 

Cameron Community Ministries unlocked their playground to children in the Lyell-Otis neighborhood, neighbors also got on board providing free games and books to kids!

The Maplewood Neighborhood Association hosted two play days – in La Grange Park and on the Raines Medium on Seneca Parkway. Maplewood organizers got creative with pool noodles (one of them bought over 100 for both play days!), and ceiling tiles to create elaborate obstacle courses, mazes, and matching games. At La Grange Park, residents provided an opportunity for kids to design and express how violence affects their play spaces with their “Play through Peace” totem.

In the Northeast quadrant 

The FLRT team and Project HOPE had a family fun-fest at Samuel Torres Park. Families had an opportunity to play basketball, dance with a free Zumba class, and enjoy a bounce house. As part of their wacky races  kids created their own cars out of banana boxes  to race around the baseball diamond!

At the City of Rochester Public Market, Two Awkward Dragons hosted a silly walk competition at the crosswalk near Union St. Bakery. Market attendees danced and showed off their moves as they crossed the street to purchase their fresh fruits and veggies! They even made these amazing videos (1) & (2) that captured the spirit of the day.

In the Southeast quadrant: 

Beechwood Neighborhood Association set up shop at Grand Ave Park – the future home of their community playground! Kids and families in the neighborhood had the opportunity to meet Mickey Mouse, get their face painted, play games, and enjoy some delicious watermelon.

The South Wedge Farmer’s Market kicked off their day at Genesee Gateway Park by painting their favorite fruits and veggies along the market pathway! Eazywork Fitness got the kids moving with a kickball competition and fun workout class.

At Nu Movement in the Neighborhood of the Arts, families had fun with a free kids’ yoga class followed by a water balloon race!

Healthi Kids cannot thank everyone who pulled this together enough to make PlayROCs your Neighborhood Happen! The opportunity to see everyone’s vision for play in your neighborhood come to life was really amazing. To view our full gallery of pictures from the day visit our Facebook page:


A special thank you to all of our rock star organizers: Maplewood Neighborhood Association; the Parent Leadership Training Institute Alumni; Cameron Community Ministries; Phillis Wheatley Library; New Era Rochester; James Dobson Apartments; Beechwood Neighborhood Association; South Wedge Planning Committee; the South Wedge Farmers Market; Nu Movement; Project HOPE;  the FLRT Team; the City of Rochester Public Market and Two Awkward Dragons. 


News and thoughts from the Healthi Kids team