Kerman is considered one of the most “Playful Cities in the US.” It’s one of 151 cities chosen from across the nation. KaBoom, a non-profit organization, puts together the list every year; based on the amount of playgrounds and parks within walking distance of resident’s homes.
“There are all kinds of benefits with play. Obesity is a big problem in the US; we try to put parks in access of the community to get kids outside to play,” says Kerman’s Recreation Coordinator Mark Salvador.
Kerman is home to just over 14,000 people and the city is only 3 miles in distance. Despite i'ts size, Kerman has 8 parks and playgrounds within a quarter of a mile of all its residents. The short walk encourages families to stop by.
“If we don't hit this park [Soroptimist], we hit Lions Park. It’s just another minute walk around the corner,” says Kerman mother Suzanne Kobzeff. Kobzeff and her 2-year-old son Ben walk to Soroptimist park every day. They like to bring along the family pup.
The Velez family plays here too. It is 3-year-old Ben Velez’s favorite park. “He knows it’s a good thing to sweat and have fun. He gets his heart rate up and learns it's fun to exercise,” said his dad Eric Velez.
But the playgrounds are more than just fun; the fresh air has kids’ minds hard at work. The parks features let kids imagination run wild. “There’s nothing to replace coming out to a playground throwing and catching a ball—the social interaction,” added Salvador.
Kerman’s parks attract young and old; some that come to the park everyday feel they’ve been dealt a good hand. “We have a group of elderly gentleman out here every day playing cards,” noted Salvador.
Each park and playground is different. There are kids playgrounds filled with slides and swings; teenage parks for extreme sports and ball fields for young and old.
Kobzeff says there’s another park in the works and her family can’t wait until its built. “I’m hoping it comes sooner than later.”
The city says there are three more parks in the works; two are already past the planning stages.
This marks Kerman’s fifth consecutive year to make the “Most Playful List.”
Christina Lusby Reporting.