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Rec ‘N the Streets Delivers Fun Directly to Community

In the spring of 2020, the City of Seattle closed its community centers and public indoor spaces in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the city and beyond. For Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) this meant cutting off access to vital recreation programs and activities at a time when residents, who were essentially sheltering in place in their homes, needed them most.

That’s when SPR Recreation staff got creative, ramping up and expanding a program started several years earlier to bring activities to the people. Called “Rec ‘N the Streets,” the idea was to offer mobile community centers to directly serve Seattle’s communities furthest from racial, educational, economic, health and social equity. Neighbors could participate outdoors with masks with social distancing in such activities as cornhole, Jenga, pickleball and other games. Virtual activities were also available.

In 2021, the innovative program continued in three areas of the city, serving hundreds of participants, staffed by five SPR teams in parks, parking lots and streets that had been shut down to motorized vehicles. Other events were added in the summer such as rock painting, nature walks, outdoor movies, Poetry in the Park, and dances.

“This program was amazing!” said one parent in Seattle’s Maplewood neighborhood. “My son and I came to the park as usual and then we found all these games here. I wish this were at the park every day. I know my son would love that.”

Now an integral part of the department’s wide array of regular recreation programs, Rec ‘N the Streets continues to offer “pop-up” scalable fun and play for all ages.

Learn more about the Seattle Park District in the 2021 Park District Annual Report.

Visit the Rec ‘N the Streets website for more information.