Playgrounds are a Bipartisan Issue

November 21, 2022

What the 2022 midterm elections mean for KABOOM's advocacy work.

Playgrounds are a bipartisan issue, which is a good thing now there is a divided government in Washington starting next year. While this past election will be sure to have a variety of national repercussions, at KABOOM! we will continue to stay focused on rallying support on both sides of the aisle for increased investment in playgrounds and common sense policies to promote outdoor recreational infrastructure.

While our mission of ending playspace inequity will remain central to our advocacy work, our policy and advocacy team will use the change in House leadership to draw more attention to the need for more accessible, high-quality playgrounds in rural communities. The outdoor recreational needs of children living in rural communities is often overlooked because of their access to outdoor spaces. But there is a real difference between farmland and recreational outdoor spaces that, if not addressed, can have long-term negative consequences on children and the rural communities they grow-up in.

Without the proper, age-appropriate playspaces, children in rural communities risk experiencing negative long-term outcomes to their mental and physical health. Research shows that lower socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic minority, and rural populations all have more limited access to playspaces in neighborhoods, parks, and schools compared to wealthier, white, and urban groups. Location matters when we look at a community’s ability to access great spaces for play, and including eligible funding for playground development in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization will help address this issue.

In addition to drawing attention to the play needs of rural children, KABOOM! will continue to support bi-partisan efforts that reduce overly burdensome requirements on state and local governments pursuing and managing federal funds that support the creation of outdoor recreational space. These efforts will include proposed modifications to the administration of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program (ORLP), which we also hope will be codified into law during this lame-duck session of Congress by the passage of the Outdoors for All Act.

As the policy and budget priorities in each Chamber become clearer, KABOOM! is well-positioned to leverage the support we’ve developed through our work in a wide array of communities across the country into action that helps end playspace inequity through more and better federal funding programs.