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City adding 'play' to project list

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City officials have announced three more projects, this time having to do with play, not buildings or infrastructure.

One will create a "Corridor of Play" from the Genesee River east on Court Street, then south on Chestnut Street to the Strong Museum of Play. Another will create new play-oriented activities in the Jones Square Park neighborhood, focusing on the cultural heritage of the area. And the third will create a play area on a currently empty lot near Wilson Commencement Park.

They'll be funded in part by Play Everywhere grants awarded by a national organization called KaBOOM! and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. KaBOOM! is a non-profit that promotes active play for children, especially those in poverty. All three Rochester projects will focus on adding family-friendly activity spaces to the city.

Planning for the three is under way, and city officials say some smaller projects could be installed this fall. The Corridor of Play, which is intended to provide a connection between the museum and the river, could include interactive features such as hop-scotch-type sidewalk installations and musical elements. And there could be plans to stage events along the corridor.

Strong Museum staff are involved in the Corridor planning, with representatives of Common Ground Health.

The Jones Square Park project, named Concrete to Canvas, will include artistic work on pedestrian pathways as well as interactive sidewalk games. It will be managed by Pathstone.

And the Wilson Commencement Park project, on an empty lot adjacent to a bus stop, will have hills, tunnels, and a maze.

Rochester is one of 11 communities in Western New York and Southeast Michigan sharing $1 million in grants to create unique, safe play areas, especially for children in poor areas.