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Feature Article - June 2013

Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


Construction Plans

In every region, respondents in 2013 were more likely to indicate that they had construction plans over the next three years than respondents in 2012. Those from the South Central region were the most likely to have construction plans of some kind. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents in this region had plans for construction. They were followed by respondents from the South Atlantic region (65.4 percent), the Northeast (64 percent) and the Midwest (60.9 percent). Respondents in the West were least likely to have construction plans, though 58.7 percent indicated that they were planning to build new, make additions or renovate their existing facilities over the next three years. (See Figure 32.)


Respondents in the South Central states were the most likely to be planning new construction. Some 28.2 percent of respondents in that region said they were planning new construction, compared with less than one-quarter in every other region. Respondents from the South Atlantic were least likely to be planning new construction, with just 22.7 percent.

Respondents in the Northeast were most likely to be planning to make additions to their existing facilities. Nearly three out of 10 (29.2 percent) respondents in this region said they would be making additions. They were followed by the South Central region, with 28.9 percent. Respondents in the West were least likely to be planning additions, at 23.8 percent.

Respondents in the Northeast were also the most likely to be planning to renovate their existing facilities. Nearly half (49 percent) of Northeastern respondents said they'd be undertaking renovations in the next few years, compared with 46.1 percent in the South Atlantic, 45 percent in the Midwest and South Central regions, and 43.6 percent in the West.

For most regions, the amount budgeted for facility construction grows from 2011 to 2013. Respondents in the South Atlantic region are the exception to this rule. (See Figure 33.)


The greatest increase in construction budgets from 2011 to 2013 is found among respondents in the South Central states, where the amount planned for construction increased by 49.1 percent from $3,381,000 in 2011 to $5,042,000 in 2013. They were followed by respondents in the West, who reported a 16.5 percent increase from $4,035,000 in 2011 to $4,702,000 in 2013.

More subtle increases are reported among respondents in the Northeast, at 8.3 percent, and the Midwest, at 2.9 percent. Meanwhile, in the South Atlantic states, respondents' construction budgets fell by 25.6 percent from 2011 to 2013, from $4,437,000 to $3,300,000.

The types of features that are more likely to be found in some regions than others showcase how different the recreation, sports and fitness market can be depending on where you are. In some cases, it's a simple matter of climate. For example, indoor aquatic facilities might be expected to be more prevalent where it's cold. Likewise with ice rinks and winter recreation facilities. At the same time, some of the variance simply highlights the region where certain ideas first took hold—such as with skateparks and dog parks, which first became popular in the Western states.

Respondents in the Northeast were more likely than those in other regions to report that their facilities included natural turf sports fields (61.4 percent), outdoor sports courts (59.3 percent), indoor aquatic facilities (33.5 percent), synthetic turf fields (26.4 percent), climbing walls (20.5 percent), nature centers (13.1 percent) and challenge courses or ropes courses (12.5 percent).

In the Midwest, respondents were more likely than other regions to include locker rooms (67.1 percent), bleachers and seating (64.8 percent), indoor sports courts (56.5 percent), fitness centers (53.7 percent), indoor tracks (27.7 percent), outdoor tracks (27.4 percent), childcare centers (22.8 percent), ice rinks (16.3 percent), waterparks (12 percent) and skiing or winter recreation areas (9.5 percent).

Respondents from the South Atlantic region were more likely than those in other regions to report that their facilities included classrooms and meeting rooms (63.3 percent), playgrounds (55.1 percent), exercise studios (48.4 percent) or waterfronts and marinas (20.8 percent).

In the South Central states, respondents were more likely than others to include concessions (64.4 percent), disc golf courses (20.4 percent) or amusements and arcades (5 percent).

Finally, in the West respondents were more likely than those in other regions to include as part of their facilities park structures (55.1 percent), open spaces (54.9 percent), community centers (46.5 percent), trails (46.3 percent), outdoor aquatic facilities (39.6 percent), skateparks (27.7 percent), splash play areas (20.3 percent), dog parks (21.5 percent), golf courses (17.4 percent), campgrounds (15 percent) or bike/BMX parks (6.9 percent).

(Turn to Figure 20 on page 24 to easily compare these regional number with the amenities and features included in facilities in all regions.)

The features that showed the greatest difference across regions were skateparks. Some 17.2 percent more respondents in the West included skateparks as part of their facilities than in the South Central region, where only 10.5 percent included skateparks. After skateparks, the features showing the greatest difference from region to region included concession areas (64.4 percent in the South Central states included them vs. 47.5 percent in the West); community centers (46.5 percent in the West vs. 30 percent in the Northeast); outdoor aquatic facilities (39.6 percent in the West vs. 24 percent in the Northeast); dog parks (21.5 percent in the West vs. 6.2 percent in the Northeast); and ice rinks (16.3 percent in the Midwest vs. 1 percent in the South Central region).

Just as in 2012, respondents from the South Atlantic region were the most likely to indicate that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. Some 40.3 percent of South Atlantic respondents indicated they had such plans. They were more likely than respondents from other regions to be planning to add indoor sports courts, community centers, waterparks and indoor aquatic facilities.

Some 39.1 percent of respondents in the Northeast reported that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. They were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add trails, synthetic turf fields, playgrounds, fitness centers, bleachers and seating, open spaces, climbing walls, classrooms and meeting rooms, exercise studio rooms, concessions, natural turf fields, outdoor sport courts, locker rooms, indoor tracks, outdoor tracks and childcare centers.

Some 38.1 percent of respondents in the Midwest have plans to add features at their facilities. They are more likely than other regions to be planning to add dog parks and nature centers.

Likewise, 38.1 percent of respondents in the South Central states are planning to add features. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add splash play areas, disc golf courses and skateparks.

Finally, respondents in the West were least likely to be planning to add features. Some 37.6 percent of them had plans to add features at their facilities. They were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add park structures such as shelters and restrooms, challenge courses and ropes courses, bike or BMX parks, and outdoor aquatic facilities.