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Website Pinpoints Summer Fun Facilities for Kids

June 28, 2010

PHOENIX - Getting kids outdoors and active in the summer isn't easy. But finding a place to go for sports and recreation is a snap using the Spaces to Play website, spacestoplay.org. Shawna Hubbard, executive director of the Maricopa Council on Youth Sports and Physical Activity, says virtually every public location in Central Arizona is listed.

"We organized that by sport. So if you were looking for a skate park, for example, you could simply go to spacestoplay.org and click on skate parks, and every one would show up for you. It's on a Google Maps interface, so it's very familiar and user-friendly."

Hubbard says that by clicking on a location, you get such information as hours of operation and a list of available amenities. She says the website is a direct response to the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Hubbard says daytime outdoor recreation may be impractical in the summer heat, so the website has a separate section for spaces to play at night.

"That's if you're online and you say, 'Well, it's too hot right now but maybe after sunset, it'll be cooler and we could go out and play soccer.' What we did was earmark all of the sites that have lighting."

Right now, Spaces to Play is limited to Central Arizona. But Hubbard says there are plans to go statewide.

"We have the neighboring communities like Casa Grande and Goldfield and areas like that, but what we really want to do is, with additional funding, get the entire state documented."

The Spaces to Play website is funded through grants from private foundations.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ