Two local cities ranked among nations most playful
Two San Diego County cities were recognized in a national survey for efforts to increase youth recreational opportunities, it was announced Monday.

Along with seven other California cities, Encinitas and La Mesa made the "2009 Playful City USA'' list compiled by KaBOOM, a nonprofit group that rates communities according to the quantity and quality of recreational resources available to children, including parks, athletic fields and skating rinks.

The organization also judges how easily accessible play spaces are, and whether they're cost-prohibitive.

Both Encinitas and La Mesa were repeat honorees.

Other California cities included in KaBOOM's list of 93 places where children's activities are given high priority include Baldwin Park, Brentwood and Cerritos in Los Angeles County; Riverside; San Bernardino; San Francisco; and Kerman in Fresno County.

"Our country is facing two monumental deficits: a lack of unstructured play among children and a lack of resources to address this very issue,'' said KaBOOM Chief Executive Officer Darrell Hammond.

"Each of these California cities took a stand and determined that the future of their community -- their children -- deserve a commitment to the cause of play,'' Hammond said.

"This is an investment in the future, not an expenditure, and cities and towns across the country can replicate initiatives from these Playful City USA communities so that they, too, can bring play back into the lives of children.''