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1019157 2038-01-01 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-01T00:00:00.000-05:00 2009-07-17 00:15:36.0 UTC 2009-07-16T20:15:36.000-04:00 new-port-richey-st-petersburg-and-safety-harbor-awarded-quotplayful-city Published 2009-07-17 02:31:12.0 UTC 2009-07-16T22:31:12.000-04:00 news/humaninterest DTI 53080056 NEW PORT RICHEY Elaine Smith was driving back from North Carolina in a rainstorm last Friday. Her phone rang, but she didn't answer it. It was one of her employees, Helen Caravona. When Smith, the director of parks and recreation for the city of New Port Richey, listened to the message later, there was no greeting or goodbye. All Caravona said was: "We got KaBOOM!" They had been trying for two years to get the award from KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit with the goal of having a play space within walking distance for every child in America. Every year, the program releases a list of Playful City USA communities. There is no prize money with the award, but being a Playful City opens the door to possible grant money in the future. KaBOOM! partners with big sponsors, such as Home Depot and Kool-Aid. First lady Michelle Obama recently worked with KaBOOM! and other agencies to build a playground in California. This year, 93 cities were given the award. Two other Tampa Bay cities made the list — St. Petersburg and Safety Harbor. Effort pays off "This is huge," Smith said Thursday in her office at the New Port Richey Recreation Center. She and Caravona, who is a recreation supervisor, haven't had time to celebrate. Budgets are being slashed and the rec department is short-staffed. No one has just one single job there. Smith even cleans bathrooms. "We almost gave up on KaBOOM! this year," Smith said. They tried last year but weren't picked. The application process is demanding. Every single play space in New Port Richey needed to be measured, researched and photographed. These range from parks to public basketball courts. "I took my granddaughter to three parks in one day," said Caravona, who did much of the work on the application, which took her more than 200 hours. She and others involved had to get people to register on KaBOOM! to review the city's 25 play spaces. They had to profile projects they have done — such as Fit Kids, a free, eight-week health and fitness course at the rec center. Identify spending on play spaces. Design an annual action plan for play. Proclaim and celebrate an annual day for play. "It was a challenge," said Caravona, a mother of six boys who has lived in New Port Richey for more than 30 years. "But it was good for the city. And important." Smith is the mother of two boys. "The city of New Port Richey is a wonderful place," she said. "And this just brings more notoriety to a place we already know is great." Both women are devout in their passion for getting children away from video games and having them play outdoors. "Kids have lost the art of playing," Caravona said. Children "need to know how to entertain themselves." Charles Timony is 14 and volunteers at the rec center every day. His birthday was Thursday, and he had his party there. He said there are plenty of places to play around New Port Richey. "If you sit at home all day and play video games, it's not really healthy," he said. "I like to get out and make new friends." Thirteen-year-old Kyle McCoy is also at the rec center nearly every day. He goes there to play basketball. As far as the importance of having play time: "It's real important," he said. "It keeps you out of trouble." A lot of kids "sit around doing nothing," McCoy said. "But I choose differently." Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229. By Erin Sullivan, Times Staff Writer Human Interest_News,Pasco,News New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Safety Harbor awarded &quot;Playful City USA&quot; distinction ESULLIVANN New Port Richey is one of three area &quot;Playful City USA&quot; designees this year. PAC Pasco Central djj3hhnfudfn djj3h Cities awarded for playfulness <p> <b>Fast Facts</b> </p><p> <b>Connect with KaBOOM!</b> </p><p> To learn more about KaBOOM! go to <a href="http://kaboom.org" target="_blank">kaboom.org</a>. You can find play spaces near you by going to the top left on the home page and clicking on &quot;find a playspace.&quot; Type in your town. By clicking on the highlighted spaces, you should be able to see photos and learn more about the areas. You can also sign up and review or add new play areas in your community. </p><p> For more information about the New Port Richey Recreation Center, call (727) 841-4560 or go to <a href="http://cityofnewportrichey.org" target="_blank">cityofnewportrichey.org</a>. The address is 6630 Van Buren St., New Port Richey. </p> Pasco County 1 paskids071709.pac Cities awarded for playfulness 2009-07-17 04:00:00.0 UTC 2009-07-17T00:00:00.000-04:00 Mike Jones, 13, leaps up to the goal as Marvin Bright reaches up behind him as they play Thursday at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center on Van Buren Street. KaBOOM! is a nonprofit that awards cities for giving kids play spaces. resources/images/dti/2009/07/pac_kidspool071709_76517a.jpg BRENDAN FITTERER | Times resources/images/dti/rendered/2009/07/pac_kidspool071709_76517a_4col.jpgresources/images/dti/rendered/2009/07/pac_kidspool071709_76517a_8col.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2009/07/16/53080056-new-port-richey-st-petersburg-and-safety-harbor-awarded-quotplayful-city StaffArticle news,human interest_newsHuman Interest News ArticlesNEW PORT RICHEY Elaine Smith was driving back from North Carolina in a rainstorm last Friday. Her phone rang, but she didn't answer it. It was one of her employees, Helen Caravona. When Smith, the director of parks and recreation for the city of New Port Richey, listened to the message later, there was no greeting or goodbye. All Caravona said was: "We got KaBOOM!" They had been trying for two years to get the award from KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit with the goal of having a play space within walking distance for every child in America.Human Interest_News,Pasco,NewsHuman Interest_News,Pasco,NewsErin Sullivan 380307 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:45:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:45:06.000-04:00 erin-sullivan published 2013-10-19 14:05:28.0 UTC 2013-10-19T10:05:28.000-04:00 Erin Sullivan <p>Erin Sullivan covers business in Hillsborough County. She came to the Times in 2006 and previously covered crime, courts and breaking news in Pasco County. Sullivan grew up in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. During college, she also studied at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark. After graduating from OU in 2000, she was a Pulliam Fellow at the <i>Indianapolis Star</i> and then worked for the Associated Press in London on a foreign correspondence fellowship. Upon returning to the United States in late 2001, she worked at the <i>Birmingham Post-Herald</i> in Birmingham, Ala., the<i> Commercial Appeal </i>in Memphis, Tenn., and the <i>Orlando Sentinel,</i> before joining the <i>Times</i>. Sullivan was a finalist for a Livingston Award<i> </i>and, in 2004, was inducted into the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for writing.</p> <p>Story ideas are welcomed and sincerely appreciated. Give her a call or send an email.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33746731 Erin Sullivan covers business in Hillsborough County. She came to the Times in 2006 and previously covered crime, courts and breaking news in Pasco County. Sullivan grew up in Alliance, Ohio, and attended the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. During college, she also studied at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark. After graduating from OU in 2000, she was a Pulliam Fellow at the Indianapolis Star and then worked for the Associated Press in London on a foreign correspondence fellowship. Upon returning to the United States in late 2001, she worked at the Birmingham Post-Herald in Birmingham, Ala., the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., and the Orlando Sentinel, before joining the Times. Sullivan was a finalist for a Livingston Award and, in 2004, was inducted into the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame for writing. Story ideas are welcomed and sincerely appreciated. Give her a call or send an email. <p>Phone: (813) 226-3405</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:esullivan@tampabay.com">esullivan@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/easullivan">@EASullivan</a></p> 1 /resources/images/dti/2012/10/Sullivan_Erin_wp.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33746731-erin-sullivan AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:45:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:45:06.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">ERIN SULLIVAN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2290801 2016-08-24 19:43:51.0 UTC 5 Days Ago old-face-returns-to-port-richey-as-new-city-manager news/localgovernment Old face returns to Port Richey as new city manager StaffArticle 2290873 2016-08-25 11:00:00.0 UTC 4 Days Ago sylvias-famous-name-long-gone-from-st-petersburg-more-criticism-for-citys news/localgovernment Sylvia's famous name long gone from St. Petersburg; more criticism for city's new grants StaffArticle 2287990 2016-08-03 18:20:41.0 UTC 4 Weeks Ago new-port-richey-says-developer-reneged-on-hacienda-renovation-deal news/localgovernment New Port Richey says developer reneged on Hacienda renovation deal StaffArticle <p> NEW PORT RICHEY </p> <p> Elaine Smith was driving back from North Carolina in a rainstorm last Friday. Her phone rang, but she didn't answer it. It was one of her employees, Helen Caravona. When Smith, the director of parks and recreation for the city of New Port Richey, listened to the message later, there was no greeting or goodbye. All Caravona said was: &quot;We got KaBOOM!&quot; They had been trying for two years to get the award from KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit with the goal of having a play space within walking distance for every child in America. </p> <p> Every year, the program releases a list of Playful City USA communities. There is no prize money with the award, but being a Playful City opens the door to possible grant money in the future. KaBOOM! partners with big sponsors, such as Home Depot and Kool-Aid. First lady Michelle Obama recently worked with KaBOOM! and other agencies to build a playground in California. This year, 93 cities were given the award. Two other Tampa Bay cities made the list — St. Petersburg and Safety Harbor. </p> <p> <b>Effort pays off</b> </p> <p> &quot;This is huge,&quot; Smith said Thursday in her office at the New Port Richey Recreation Center. </p> <p> She and Caravona, who is a recreation supervisor, haven't had time to celebrate. Budgets are being slashed and the rec department is short-staffed. No one has just one single job there. Smith even cleans bathrooms. </p> <p> &quot;We almost gave up on KaBOOM! this year,&quot; Smith said. </p> <p> They tried last year but weren't picked. The application process is demanding. Every single play space in New Port Richey needed to be measured, researched and photographed. These range from parks to public basketball courts. </p> <p> &quot;I took my granddaughter to three parks in one day,&quot; said Caravona, who did much of the work on the application, which took her more than 200 hours. </p> <p> She and others involved had to get people to register on KaBOOM! to review the city's 25 play spaces. They had to profile projects they have done — such as Fit Kids, a free, eight-week health and fitness course at the rec center. Identify spending on play spaces. Design an annual action plan for play. Proclaim and celebrate an annual day for play. </p> <p> &quot;It was a challenge,&quot; said Caravona, a mother of six boys who has lived in New Port Richey for more than 30 years. &quot;But it was good for the city. And important.&quot; </p> <p> Smith is the mother of two boys. </p> <p> &quot;The city of New Port Richey is a wonderful place,&quot; she said. &quot;And this just brings more notoriety to a place we already know is great.&quot; </p> <p> Both women are devout in their passion for getting children away from video games and having them play outdoors. </p> <p> &quot;Kids have lost the art of playing,&quot; Caravona said. Children &quot;need to know how to entertain themselves.&quot; </p> <p> Charles Timony is 14 and volunteers at the rec center every day. His birthday was Thursday, and he had his party there. He said there are plenty of places to play around New Port Richey. </p> <p> &quot;If you sit at home all day and play video games, it's not really healthy,&quot; he said. &quot;I like to get out and make new friends.&quot; </p> <p> Thirteen-year-old Kyle McCoy is also at the rec center nearly every day. He goes there to play basketball. </p> <p> As far as the importance of having play time: &quot;It's real important,&quot; he said. &quot;It keeps you out of trouble.&quot; </p> <p> A lot of kids &quot;sit around doing nothing,&quot; McCoy said. &quot;But I choose differently.&quot; </p> <p> <i>Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.</i> </p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:34:07