News Release - National Grants to Fund a More Playful Rochester

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018) – The City of Rochester isn’t playing around when it comes to play. Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced today that Play Everywhere Challenge grants from the national nonprofit KaBOOM! and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation will fund three major projects in the city – including a new “Corridor of Play” Downtown, linking ROC the Riverway projects with the Strong Museum of Play.

“Play is vital to healthy children, physically, socially and emotionally,” said Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “We are grateful for this opportunity to create more family-oriented spaces and play areas, which will help children build strong bodies and creative minds. This is a vital part of building safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, which will encourage the development of more jobs and better educational opportunities for all our residents.”

The three projects include:
      Roc Paint Division’s Concrete to Canvas: The project will create artistic, creative play opportunities that pay homage to the cultural heritage of the residents from the neighborhood surrounding Jones Square Park, including pedestrian pathways featuring traditional tile/textile patterns representing diverse cultures and play pads with interactive sidewalk games.
      The Corridor of Play in Downtown Rochester: The project will create an interactive play trail including musical elements, sidewalk games and river-oriented features that will connect the ROC the Riverway projects to the Strong Museum of Play, allowing kids and families to play along the way as they go to the Central Library, wait for the bus, or go to classes at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center.
      Elevate at Wilson Commencement Park: The project will transform the empty lot behind a busy bus stop into a safe place for kids and families while they wait for public transportation. It’s designed to help kids navigate natural landscapes and includes hills equipped with built-in tunnels, ladders and a maze.

The City of Rochester will be involved in the first two projects and will work in partnership with Common Ground Health on the Corridor of Play. The third project will be managed by Soujourner Home at Wilson Commencement Park. The Play Everywhere Challenge is a program of KaBOOM! and the Built to Play Initiative, supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, providing grants ranging from $10,000 to $80,000 for innovative designs that integrate play into everyday life and in unexpected places.

Two years ago, KaBOOM! named Rochester a 2016 Playful City USA, a national recognition, honoring cities and towns for making their cities more playable.

To learn more about the Play Everywhere Challenge, including a gallery of grant winners from across Western New York and Southeast Michigan, please visit


News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo, 428-7135 or
Shivonne Jones at KaBOOM! 202-464-6087,
Carly Strachan at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, 313-885-1895

About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – especially those living in poverty – the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play. KaBOOM! inspires communities to make play the easy choice and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of PLAYces. KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build or restore more than 17,000 playspaces, engaged more than 1.5 million volunteers and served over 9 million kids. To learn why play matters for all kids, visit and join the conversation at, and Instagram/kaboom. #playmatters #PLAYceforKids

About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit



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