Bull City Play Streets set for Saturday

Apr. 09, 2014 @ 06:31 PM

After a winter of sledding and sliding through Durham’s ice and snow- covered streets, children and families can get their “game on” without braving the chill, as the Bull City Play Streets series gears up for its second year. 

This year’s Play Streets kickoff will be 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at W.G. Pearson Elementary School and along Fayetteville Street from Timothy Street to Cook Road, in conjunction with the LisaP Angels 5K Charity Run/Walk for Diabetes. 

“This is the second year that we’ve reimagined our streets as the public places they once were, and we’re excited to once again use that public space to get people outside and physically active,” said Constance Stancil, director of the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department. “One important aspect of thriving, livable neighborhoods continues to be creating a community space for individuals, children and families to safely walk, jog, ride bicycles, skate and have easy access to physical activities like dancing and games.” 

Parking will be available at White Rock Baptist Church, 3400 Fayetteville St., and select lots at W.G. Pearson Elementary School at 3501 Fayetteville St. 

Planned physical activities, in addition to the LisaP Angels 5K, include Zumba, line dancing with the Bull City Sliders, playground games, an inflatable obstacle course and other outdoor games.  Health-focused vendors and educational booths will be available.  Those attending are advised to bring a water bottle and dress comfortably to play outside and have fun. They’re also encouraged to bring bikes, scooters, roller skates and other toys to play outside. 

“The Bull City Play Streets series are spirited events that encourage all of us be more active, which has great health benefits,” said Kim Blair, director of community relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. “In addition, it helps bring our communities together in safe, fun spaces.” 

Last year, the city and county of Durham collaborated to win a $50,000 grant to create Bull City Play Streets. The grant provides funds, technical assistance and communications and marketing support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with the private sector and its honorary chair, First Lady Michelle Obama, to end the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, to launch the program. Durham is one of 10 cities selected to participate in the nationwide program. 

Throughout the spring and summer, Bull City Play Streets will take place in several locations throughout Durham. The next event in the series will take place May 3, starting at noon, with lineup for a 2 p.m. kickoff of a bike parade, in the area of Magnum and Main streets in downtown Durham.  Later that night, at about 7 p.m., lineup will start for an 8 p.m. lantern parade. 

Another Bull City Play Streets will take place June 21 in the Driver Street area, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Plans for additional events are being completed. 

The second year of the Bull City Play Streets series brings back fond memories for Durham County Public Health Director Gayle B. Harris. 
“As a child growing up in Durham, I enjoyed neighborhood block parties where streets were closed to allow dancing, playing and fellowship in streets within neighborhoods,” she said. “Play Streets has afforded us the opportunity to bring such an initiative back into the communities of Durham.  During the first year, we saw communities coming together in unique ways with a variety of partners to help host the events. This year we again look for forward to having five events in five more communities. We are also developing a how-to-guide so that Play Streets can be sustained after the funding ends.”