Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

September 2021


Partnerships Between Parks & Schools Provide More Equitable Access

A recent survey from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) showed strong support for partnerships between local schools and parks and recreation agencies to ensure equitable access to open spaces and facilities. Recent research from the Trust for Public Land shows where such partnerships might be most beneficial.

Such partnerships provide community members the ability to use amenities like school playgrounds and sports fields on school grounds outside of school hours or school-sponsored activities. More than three in five U.S. adults say these partnerships are extremely or very important, with the strongest support coming from parents (73%), those identifying as Hispanic (72%), millennials (70%) and those identifying as Black or African-American (69%).

"Educators and park and recreation professionals share a common goal—to support community members by providing increased physical activity opportunities that improve mental and physical health and well-being," said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. "By working together and combining resources, we can strengthen and expand the number of quality recreation opportunities available to the community."

NRPA supports efforts that increase public access to parks, nature, green spaces and other physical activity options, including promoting joint use agreements between park and recreation departments and local schools.

Further support comes from the Trust for Public Land, which recently released a report on how transforming underused asphalt schoolyards into vibrant public parks that stay open to neighbors after school and on weekends brings significant health, equity and education benefits to students and communities. TPL noted that opening all public schools to local communities during non-school hours would give nearly 20 million additional people in the United States, including 5.2 million children, access to park space within a 10-minute walk of their home.

"The schoolyard is an often-overlooked component of community infrastructure that is packed with potential," said TPL CEO and President Diane Regas. "Together, we can address the unhealthy state of the nation's schoolyards so that students have access to opportunities for recreation, outdoor learning and physical activity, setting them up for a lifetime of success. And transforming schoolyards into shared public parks is also a common-sense, cost-effective solution to America's park-equity problem—filling a void for communities by providing new access to public greenspace."

Experts at TPL combed through data from tens of thousands of districts, examining water quality, urban heat, physical activity levels, mental health and vulnerable populations to compile a list of 45 large school districts in nine regions with at least 10,000 students that most urgently need—and could benefit from—the Community Schoolyards model, including Billings, Mont.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Cape Coral, Fla.; and Augusta-Richmond County in Georgia.


Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

$500,000 in Grants Awarded for Water-Inspired Play Spaces - September 2021

Leading Organizations Endorse Children's Bill of Rights in Sports - August 2021

Screentime Up, Mental & Physical Fitness Down, Says New Study - August 2021

The Great American Outdoors Act, One Year Later - August 2021

IHRSA Foundation Digs Into the New Fitness Consumer Mindset - August 2021

NRPA Announces Grant Funding to Support Equitable Access to Parks - August 2021

Arlington, Va., Named 'Fittest City' - July 2021

ACE Launches Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Course for Exercise Pros - July 2021

NRPA Survey Finds Strong Support for Park & Rec Infrastructure Investments - July 2021

2021 Report Shows Record Outdoor Participation - July 2021

YMCA Examines Generational, Racial Inequities in Water Safety Education - June 2021

Child Drownings Remain High - June 2021

CPSC Announces $2 Million in Grants Available to Help Prevent Drowning, Entrapment - June 2021

10th Annual ParkScore Index Names Washington, D.C., Best City Park System - June 2021

ACE, WIFA Launch Opportunity to Support Women in Fitness - June 2021

$150 Million in Grants Will Create Parks, Expand Recreation Opportunities - May 2021

CPSC Awards More Than $860,000 in Pool Safely Grants - May 2021

Leading Aquatic Organizations Champion Water Safety - May 2021

Keep America Beautiful Releases Study on Litter in America - May 2021

Outdoor Industry Association Paints Picture of the New Outdoor Participant - April 2021

NRPA Introduces New Resource Aimed at Eliminating Health Inequities - April 2021

ULI Report: Pandemic Led to Innovation in the Public Realm - April 2021

Nation's Pediatricians Provide New Guidance on Summer Camp Safety - April 2021

Grants Invest in Community Trail Projects - March 2021

Research Supports Safe Camp Operations During Pandemic - March 2021

USA Swimming Distributes Community Impact Grants - March 2021

Research Uncovers What Consumers Need to Return to Gyms - March 2021

Study Details Hard-Hitting Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Attractions Industry - March 2021

Outdoor Participation Up Significantly, Says Topline Data From Outdoor Foundation - February 2021

USA Swimming Awards Funds to Local Swimming Committees - February 2021

NGWSD Celebrates Girls & Women in Sports - February 2021

Organizations Lodge Opposition to Last-Minute LWCF Changes - February 2021

Parks & Rec Pros Serve Essential Mentorship Role - January 2021

USA Swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming Partner to Support Learn-to-Swim - January 2021

Online Training Tops 2021 Fitness Trends, Says ACSM - January 2021

New Appropriations Act Boosts City Park Funding - January 2021

Trust for Public Land Ranks Boise No. 1 for Dog Parks - December 2020

USA Swimming Recognizes Top-Performing Clubs - December 2020

Pediatricians Update Youth Sports Guidance, Recommend Face Coverings at All Times - December 2020

ACA Grant Program Aims to Promote Access and Inclusion at Camp - December 2020

2020 Voters Approve $3.7 Billion for Parks & Public Lands - November 2020

Study Highlights Parks & Rec's Role in Youth Sports - November 2020

Grants Available for Swim Lesson Providers - November 2020

Sports Medicine Experts to Address COVID-19 and Athlete Care - November 2020

Study Shows Americans Miss the Gym - November 2020

City Parks Alliance Launches Park Funding Hub - October 2020

Pool Safely's New PSA Focuses on Child Drowning Prevention - October 2020

U.S. Reps File Health & Fitness Recovery Act - October 2020

IHRSA Foundation, ACE Aim to Improve Exercise Inclusion for People With Intellectual Disability - October 2020

NRPA Survey: U.S. Adults Say Parks & Rec Is Essential - September 2020

Effective Date for Drain Cover Standard Delayed - September 2020

ACE Urges Governments to Open Parks & Public Spaces for In-Person Fitness - September 2020

CDC Study Examines Successful Overnight Camp Strategies from 2020 - September 2020