CHATHAM — A special program that brings sports activities to play lots will visit Brown Park for the first time this summer.
"Rolling Rec" brings a van to the park, 634 E. 86th St., on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 12. Programing will run from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The van carries gear for such activities as gymnastics, fitness, dance, theater, arts and crafts, and sports.
Participants are introduced to games and sports like lacrosse this summer, said Brown Park Advisory Board president Carl Lewis.
"It's a good program and we're excited this will be at Brown Park," he said.
The district says there are nine such vans in the program, which launched in 2012.
Lewis said that Rolling Rec coming to Brown is welcome because the park doesn't have a field house, something the park advisory board has been fighting to get for at least two years.
"We have been fighting hard for it, but this year, unlike the past two years, we are going to demand that we get this done because the community needs a field house," he said.
The board will soon begin to collect signatures to take to City Council, Lewis said.
"It won't just be me speaking," Lewis said. "It will be a volume of people who want to have this. We are serious."
They have reached $760 of their $10,000 GoFundMe goal.
Activity for kids is critical to their health. A recent report found that about 13 percent of American children are obese — the highest percentage among the 20 largest countries in the world. Almost one in three children age two to nine are overweight, according to a federal task force on the problem.
Obesity in kids has been linked to mental health issues as well as asthma, sleep apnea and high blood pressure and diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.