Recently the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on Bill 20-0320 Shared Use of School Property in the District Act of 2013. Bill 20-0320 clarifies the law to allow schools to open their property after school hours to the community for recreational purposes.
In many communities in DC, people do not have places where they can be physically active. This is especially concerning considering approximately 56% of adults and over 18% of youth in D.C. are overweight or obese. Opening school property after school hours for community members to use the gyms, weight rooms, and fields can provide safe and convenient locations for community members to be physically active.
All of the witnesses in the hearing were in favor of the bill. Representatives from community sports organizations that testified at the hearing emphasized that it is challenging for them to find fields that they can use. One of the witnesses, Alex Bearman, the Executive Director of District Sports, said their group has had some success using the fields, but he thinks that they have only been able to do this because it is his full-time job to work out these agreements. Councilmember Well, the committee chairman and bill sponsor, suggested creating a fund to assist with successful implementation.
The American Heart Association strongly supports this bill and appreciates the support of the other organizations that provided testimony at the hearing. Community members can show their support of this bill at http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/alertdetail.aspx?AlertID=34034.
Thanks to You're the Cure advocate / AHA Intern Katherine Chipman for developing this blog post.