BRENTWOOD -- Playtime is big time in Brentwood.

For the seventh year in a row, the city was included in a list of 212 cities and towns nationwide as 2014 Playful City USA honorees.

The designation is bestowed on places with a strong commitment to play through partnerships, programs and policies that result in balanced and active play activities for children, such as the kind offered at Blue Goose Park in Brentwood.

"It's got it all, it's a one-stop shop," Antioch resident Casey Smith said in describing the park she visited Monday with her sons: 2-year-old Maxton and 4-year-old Hudson as they explored a farm-themed play structure.

Garon Silva, right, of Brentwood, plays on the balance beam with his sons Aiden, 5, left, and Jaxon, 1, center, at Blue Goose Park in Brentwood, Calif., on
Garon Silva, right, of Brentwood, plays on the balance beam with his sons Aiden, 5, left, and Jaxon, 1, center, at Blue Goose Park in Brentwood, Calif., on Friday, May 16, 2014. The City of Brentwood was included in a list of 212 cities and towns nationwide as 2014 Playful City USA honorees. The designation is given for having parks that make it easy for kids to engage in balanced and active play activities such as the kind that are offered at Blue Goose Park. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

Other park features include oversized metal flowers that spray water on demand, a rope tree, a rock-climbing area, spring toys and a teeter-totter in addition to a large grassy area.

"There are so many families that use this park. We brought our grandson here. He loves it," said Chris Vedo, who along with her husband moved to Brentwood two years ago from Southern California after they retired.

Brentwood has 63 parks and 17 smaller pocket parks to serve a population of 54,741 residents living within its nearly 12 square miles.

One of the reasons Brentwood made the list is that is has a goal of having a park, athletic complex, trail or open space area within a half-mile walking distance from a resident's home. The city also partnered with the nonprofit Special Kids Foundation to build the Universal Abilities Playground at Veterans Park, which is designed to be accessible to children with various disabilities while fostering play in all children.

The city launched an interactive fitness trail system that can be accessed through a smart phone, and has a long-standing joint-use agreement with the Brentwood Union and Liberty Union school districts.

San Francisco and Redwood City were the only other Bay Area cities to make the Playful City 2014 list compiled by KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring there is plenty of active play in the lives of children, particularly the 16 million living in poverty, to help them become healthy and successful adults.

The Playful City USA program is sponsored by the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of health care provider Humana Inc.

"Through the Playful City USA program, other communities across the country will now look to Brentwood as a model," Mayor Bob Taylor said.

"I take a tremendous amount of pride knowing that what we're doing here in Brentwood will improve the lives of not only our children but children elsewhere as well."

Brentwood strives to develop five acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents, as called for in the city's general plan, Barbie Gary, recreation supervisor for the city, wrote in an email.

"Brentwood takes pride in being recognized as a Playful City USA recipient for the past seven years.

The Parks & Recreation Department is excited to share the benefits of play in our lives, and continually looks for ways we can expand and improve play opportunities in the community."

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

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