POTTSTOWN PA – Barricades stood Thursday night (July 13, 2023) across portions of West Walnut Street, accompanied by a watchful guard. Both successfully kept vehicles off the asphalt for about two hours, because some things in life are more important than traffic flow. Play is one of them.
A crowd of about 60 children and adults spread out across the street in the early evening. In places, they filled it from curb to curb. They were there for the latest edition of the borough’s Pottstown Play Streets program.
The event is conducted by the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Department, and supported by a large group of public and non-profit agencies. Its goal, over seven weeks, is to temporarily surrender block-long parts of selected streets to children and the young at heart.
The program, in its second year and already having won awards for inventiveness, gives them play-and-learn activities in safe spaces. There are healthy snacks, games; physical activities like tennis, soccer, and bowling; and crafts for the kids. Adult instructors offer friendly advice and guidance.
It’s all free, supported by grants, donations, and other funding, and open to any borough residents.
How’s it faring so far? Parks and Recreation Director Mike Lenhart, as he rested curbside, said he’s happy with the public response. He, Programs Coordinator Andie Graham, and other staff members have fine-tuned program locations this year, Lenhart added. Those changes and others resulted in greater convenience and more safety, which attracted more people.
The proof could be heard in the sunshine not far from where he sat.
The street rang with conversation, laughter, and the occasional silliness that represent the joys of childhood discovery. Adults watched over their family members, while enjoying the chance to chat with others. For those interested, information on resources providing all kinds of assistance also was available.
The Play Streets season includes three remaining events scheduled for Thursdays, all from 5:30-7:30 p.m.:
- July 20, at Washington/West Park, 433 West St.;
- July 27, at Chestnut Street Park, 114 N. Washington St.; and
- Aug. 10, at Spruce Street Park, 749 Juniper St.
Photos by Travels With The Post