Since 2009, Partners for Active Living has made childhood obesity prevention a top focus.

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 40 years. The epidemic is related to the fact that most communities do not include a physical environment that supports healthy physical activity.

One national best practice that addresses the lack of physical activity is now gaining traction in South Carolina, opening school playgrounds and athletic facilities to the community during non- school hours, like weekends and holidays. This “joint use” or “open use” agreement increases the number of places to play for children and families.

Partners for Active Living facilitated city and school district conversations to make Spartanburg the first community in the state to sign an official agreement, opening facilities in District 6 and District 7 schools in the City of Spartanburg. The City Parks and Recreation department has provided some programming at the parks, and PAL will continue to lead and implement best practice policies and places to enhance opportunities for all children, leading to physical activity and healthier lives.

The school playgrounds open on weekends and holidays like summer vacation include:

Jesse Boyd Elementary
Cleveland Elementary
Pine Street Elementary
Mary H. Wright Elementary
E.P. Todd Elementary
Spartanburg High School
McCracken Middle School
Carver Middle School
Jesse Bobo Elementary
Woodland Heights Elementary School

What’s next?! PAL hopes to work with additional school districts to get more school playgrounds open to the public.