MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis parents are feeling thankful knowing their kids will have plenty to keep them busy this summer.
All youth programs through the city’s parks and recreation board will be free at several locations starting in June.
READ MORE: Minnesota Barrel-Makers Using Ancient Craft To Bring New Flavors To Whiskey
Almost every day, 9-year-old Javier can be found hustling up and down the court at the East Phillips Community Center.
His dad, Paul Pacheco, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I know he’s here, he’s safe. They keep an eye on him, but most of all he has fun,” Pacheco said.
Some of that fun cost money — but not this summer.
“I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time,” Pacheco said.
Thanks to federal stimulus funds, and city property taxes, $2.6 million was invested into the Minneapolis Park Board to ensure all youth programs are free.
READ MORE: ‘I’ve Never Run Into A Case That’s Not Solvable’: Meet Minneapolis Police’s Top Homicide Investigator
Any kid can sign up at one of 17 locations, which are specific parks and rec centers in areas of the city where poverty is prevalent.
Parent Isabel Diaz Perez was grateful to hear the news. Rather than playing with phones or video games, her kids will be active. She spoke with WCCO through a translator.
“So with all these sports and programs in the summer it’s gonna be great for him to like step outside the room and actually have some time in the park,” Diaz Perez said.
“And it teaches the kids a lot of stuff. You know, teamwork, rules. You know, sometimes it’s discipline even that kid sometimes don’t get at home,” Pacheco said.
The free programs start with summer registration, but they don’t stop there. The programs in the fall and winter will also be free.
MORE NEWS: Biden Visits Duluth-Superior To Tout Infrastructure Law Set To Bring Billions To Minnesota, Wisconsin
Registration for the summer programs started Wednesday. Click here for more information.