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Mayor Gloria Holland of Plantersville, Miss., has been declared the winner of the Mississippi Mayors’ Let’s Play Challenge, a Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) initiative in partnership with the non-profit organization KaBOOM! The challenge pitted 27 mayors statewide in a friendly competition for the chance to win a brand new playground.

At the beginning of the summer, mayors encouraged residents in their respective cities to take the Let’s Play Pledge of at least 60 minutes of additional active play. In just over three months, Mayor Holland motivated Plantersville residents to earn the highest number of pledges – as a percentage of its city’s population – for the opportunity to receive a new playground from Let’s Play.

“I am so proud of Plantersville residents for supporting our city by taking the pledge and renewing their families’ commitment to making play a priority,” said Mayor Gloria Holland of Plantersville, Miss. “We secured a lot of support to earn Plantersville a much needed and well-deserved playground.”

A small, close-knit community with a population of just over 1,100, Plantersville took the lead in the challenge by handing out flyers at community events and local churches and promoting via social media. The town employees and volunteers that supported this project assisted those who couldn’t or didn’t know how to pledge. Plantersville may be small in size, but it is big in community spirit.

“We launched this challenge to help Mississippi residents renew their commitment to active play by taking the Let’s Play Pledge,” said Vicki Draughn, vice president of corporate affairs at DPS. “We’re proud of every community’s effort and looking forward to working with the passionate people of Plantersville to build a new child-designed playground with local volunteers.”

Mayor Holland will work with representatives from Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM! to identify potential locations for the new playground, which will be built in 2014. All KaBOOM! playgrounds are designed by children who will use them, planned locally by community members and built entirely by volunteers in just one day.

In addition to the winning city, three other mayors, Cecil Belle of Aberdeen, Miss., Melvin Hawthorne of Vaiden, Miss., and Joe Shegog, Jr. of Marks, Miss., each won an Imagination Playground in a Cart™ as a runner-up prize, thanks to their efforts, which placed second, third and fourth, respectively. Imagination Playground™ is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground™ provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination. All other participating cities will each receive a $750 maintenance grant to be allocated to further enhance or improve an existing playground.

“We are thrilled at the high number of pledges in Mississippi and especially applaud Mayor Holland and residents from Plantersville,” said Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM!. “In a state that needs access to play and encouragement of healthy habits in children at an early age, we are pleased to have made this initiative possible in partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group.”

For the past three years, Let’s Play, a $15 million community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has worked with KaBOOM! to build or improve 2,000 playgrounds, benefitting an estimated 5 million children during the lifetime of the playgrounds. People are encouraged to visit Let’s Play at www.LetsPlay.com to join the conversation and learn how to apply for the various available grants to make their communities more active and playful.

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