City puts up “PLAY” billboards, pushes for more activity in the community

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city explained the reasons for its billboards in town that say "PLAY" in big, bold letters.

The city said it is partly to celebrate the city's KaBOOM! "Playful City USA" status but also to encourage more people to get outside and be healthy.

The Playful City USA status is awarded to cities using play to address challenges.

"When you come out here, you don't see but a few people," said Herbert Williamson, 67, who exercises almost daily in Tom Lee Park.

Williamson was referring to people using the RiverFit exercise equipment from the city and the Grizzlies. The city wants to see more people taking advantage of what Memphis has to offer.

"We want people to play," parks and neighborhoods director Janet Hooks said.

The city put up the PLAY initiative billboards at the intersection of Central Avenue and Hollywood Street and the intersection of Crump Avenue and Mississippi Boulevard. They show the Playful City USA logo as well as bicycles and parks.

"We want people to look at parks and neighborhoods as fun things that are family-oriented," Hooks said.

She said the city is pushing for more innovative ways for people to stay fit,such an additional fitness course similar to RiverFit.

There are already skate parks and disc golf.

The billboard lists information about the Division of Parks and Neighborhoods' Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Hooks said the department wants people to take pictures being active outside and tag Parks and Neighborhoods. She said the department will post the pictures online.

The billboards will stay up until October.

Parks and Neighborhoods put up four billboards for different projects, which costs $2,300.

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