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Creating and Protecting Community Outdoor Spaces

posted on Sun, Jan 1 2012 12:00 am by The Network

The Network received a series of requests from a public health practitioner regarding how best to pursue an open space plan and a joint use agreement in a local community. Open space plans have been utilized by local governments to carefully manage remaining land and natural resources in order to ensure that communities have places for outdoor recreation and physical activity. Joint use agreements are specific partnerships between local government groups, such as a school and a county government, which establish guidelines for maintaining open use of land and recreational facilities for a community. The practitioner who contacted the Network was pursuing a common type of joint use agreement in which recreational space on school property is made accessible to the broader community. The practitioner requested assistance in creating an open space plan that encourages the formation of joint use agreements as well as general guidance and background on joint space agreements.

The Network reviewed the practitioner’s open space plan and provided comments, particularly regarding how and where in the proposal it would be best to include language regarding joint use agreements. The Network also provided a list of current joint use agreements in the practitioner’s state and a state-specific template for designing an agreement. Finally, a model for a joint use agreement from Network partner NPLAN (the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity) was sent to the practitioner, which is also publicly available online in NPLAN’s list of joint use agreement resources.

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