BOSTON (WHDH) — Local and state officials gathered Wednesday at Roberts Playground in Boston’s Dorchester section to kick off the “Summer Nights” initiative and to announce plans to increase programming and extend hours of operation at select pools and athletic complexes across the state for young kids.

“I’ve got three kids,” Gov. Baker said. “I was a kid once. I always wanted to do things in the summer.”

The initiative was started by Baker three years ago and has now grown to a partnership with Mayor Marty Walsh. Local community leaders say the program not only keeps kids busy during the summer months, but also safe.

“We want to adjust to violence before it happens. We don’t want to be reactive all the time,” Walsh said. “This is a program that is helping us to reduce the violence.”

The program comes as Boston has seen an increase in violence since July 4. Officals say keeping the parks open can make all the difference, offering a safe zone for children.

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