Feature Article - June 2010
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What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

One respondent made this clear: "We have an aging infrastructure—from docks, marina facilities, bait shops, showers, etc. All need renovation or replacement, and costs are high, and available funds from parent organizations are tough to come by. As facilities age, safety becomes more of an issue year by year."

Another respondent discussed how staffing cuts can affect facility maintenance: "Maintenance on the number of current facilities is at a level of 'make sure it's safe and passes any code or other mandated requirement.' With additional and renovated facilities due to come online in the township over the next year or two and the township's current method of not replacing full-time personnel's vacant positions to balance the bottom line, this may well impact the quality and longevity of these facilities."

Other issues that this year's respondents are more concerned about currently than last year's respondents include general fitness and wellness, youth fitness and wellness, legislative issues, older adult fitness and wellness, and accessibility/ availability.

Marketing and increasing participation was cited as a top concern by 42.3 percent of the respondents. One respondent discussed how closely marketing is tied to a facility's ability to continue in its community: "This is our main concern because if we do not increase participation, we may not be able to sustain ourselves as an important cog in the community. In order to increase participation, we must market ourselves to the fullest extent possible to keep drawing in our core customers and also to reach those who do not know what they are missing."

On the other side of that coin, another respondent talked about how the level of participation at their facility was leading to the need to build. Citing "availability" as a top concern, this respondent said, "We are so crowded right now that if we don't get some construction under way to expand, it is going to hurt our ability to provide open recreation to everyone."

In the next three years, the top areas of concern will continue to be equipment and facility maintenance, followed by marketing and increasing participation at facilities, and staffing issues.

One respondent discussed the need to adapt to a changing marketing landscape: "Traditional advertising does not seem to be working as in the past. We need to reach people through electronic media, and we are working toward that."

Another respondent agreed that there is a need to adjust marketing strategies: "I think the way we market our programs is changing (with the Internet becoming a more popular resource), and trying to get the word out about our facility/programs to more people while not spending more money is a challenge."