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Dave Olson, Published May 03 2013

VIDEO: West Acres opens new play area for children

FARGO – Play time began about 3:30 p.m. Friday when West Acres opened the doors to its new Recess West recreational area.

The indoor playground caters to younger children – a sign on the door bars youngsters taller than 42 inches – and is designed to give kids access to physical activity at all times of the year.

Recess West, located in a corner of the mall’s food court, will be open whenever the mall’s doors are open, said Brad Schlossman, CEO at West Acres Development.

He said that while mall staff will check on the area periodically, adults are expected to supervise children in their care.

The mall spent about $250,000 developing the play space, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota contributing a promotional fee as a sponsor.

“The sponsorship is one of the more visible ways we are advocating for daily, healthy activity for North Dakotans of all ages,” said Paul von Ebers, BCBSND president and chief executive officer.

Joan Engeseth, a BCBSND employee, attended Friday’s grand opening with three grandchildren.

She said the play space is a nice addition to the shopping center and one her family will use regularly.

“We will be there,” she said.

Von Ebers said with child obesity being so prevalent, play opportunities become more important.

He said that is particularly true during winter months.

“It’s hard for parents to find a place where kids can go and play,” von Ebers said. “But, anytime during the year when kids are here, they have an opportunity to play, and this is a free source of play.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555