ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Rochester has been honored as a 2016 Playful City USA, and is taking part in the KaBoom challenge, where $1 million in prizes will be awarded for the best design that helps make play easy.  

City leaders said Thursday at Conkey Corner Park that play is critical to the health and well-being of kids and cities need to recognize that.

"As we start looking at more structured programing within our centers, the other thing that we cannot lose sight of is play, and giving kids the opportunity to let loose, to be free to jump around, to yell," said Marisol Lopez, department of Youth and Recreation.

Conkey Corner Park, a playground on Rochester's northeast side that was transformed from an abandoned lot, is one of the reasons the city was named a Playful City.