While communities throughout the country struggle with budgetary constraints, providing the resources needed to ensure that children stay active and healthy too often gets placed on the back-burner. Yet, despite these constraints, there are several cost-effective policy measures that community leaders can pursue to increase access to the play opportunities that children need to thrive.
To that end, KaBOOM! strongly supports the creation of joint use agreements that make play more accessible to kids, and is working to assist communities across the country to open up school playgrounds, during non-school hours, through the availability of $30,000 and $15,000 Let’s Play Joint Use Grants.
A joint use agreement (JUA) is a formal agreement between two separate entities–often a school and a city or county–setting forth the terms and conditions for shared use of public property or facilities. While most agreements are formed between government entities, nonprofit groups and private property owners can also take part in joint use agreements. Each agreements differs in size and scope, but they all serve to solidify collaborative partnerships that pool resources and divide responsibility amongst all of the parties involved.
A joint use agreement costs little to implement and can have an enormous impact on the health of the entire community. By opening up parks, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities to the public during times in which they would normally be closed, both children and adults gain access to conveniently located spaces where they can play, exercise, and interact. Often, these locations can help to serve as a public commons for the community to engage, share ideas, and develop the bonds necessary for social cohesion.
KaBOOM! believes that, through joint use agreements, communities can achieve large scale impact. That’s why we are working to educate communities on the benefits of joint use and to overcome any related challenges. For example, while costs are minimal, some entities are reluctant to form joint use agreements because of concerns over liability. However, many states throughout the country have worked to pass laws that make joint use easier by either limiting or prohibiting liability. To find out what the liability laws concerning joint use are in your state, visit Change Lab Solutions and click on their interactive map.
To learn more about Let’s Play Joint Use Grants, apply, and access a free comprehensive tool-kit, including a sample agreement and resolution, that will assist you in forming a joint use agreement in your community, visit kaboom.org/jointuse.