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If You Open It, They Will Come



There’s a lot of talk in the childhood obesity movement about the need to build playgrounds, fitness centers, parks and other facilities to help get children and their families physically active.
But many communities face a different problem: Those facilities already have been built in their neighborhood. People just can’t access them.
Our friends at KaBoom! and the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN, which is a project of Public Health Law and Policy) unveiled a new tool this week designed to help community advocates open local school facilities for public use. 
Playing Smart: A New Guide to Help Communities Open the Schoolyards, outlines how many cities and towns across the country are working with schools to allow public agencies, nonprofit groups and others to access playgrounds, fields, basketball courts and gymnasiums after school hours. 
Schools and communities draw up joint use agreements that outline specific terms for using these facilities after hours. Playing Smart serves as a nuts-a-bolts guide for crafting effective joint use agreements, so that schools keep their facilities in tip-top shape and young people and their families can use them to stay fit.