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Web Exclusive - June 2014

A Look at Trends in Community Sports & Recreation Centers

Community Centers


In 2014, respondents from private and community sports and recreation centers made up 7.1 percent of all respondents.

The largest number of community center respondents reported in from the West. Some 27 percent were from the West. They were followed by the Midwest (25.7 percent), the South Atlantic (16.4 percent), the Northeast (14.5 percent) and the South Central region (13.8 percent).

Some 45.8 percent of community center respondents reported that they were located in suburban communities. Another 31.4 percent were located in urban areas, and 22.9 percent were in rural communities.

The largest number of community center respondents—45.5 percent—said they worked for public organizations. Another 35.9 percent were with private nonprofit organizations, and 18.6 percent were with private, for-profit organizations.

On average, community center respondents reported that they manage 3.6 facilities. In fact, some 80 percent of these respondents manage just one, two or three facilities, compared with 56.2 percent of non-community-center respondents.

A majority—84.5 percent—of community center respondents reported that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. The most common partners were: local schools (55.5 percent of community center respondents had partnered with them); local government (50.3 percent); nonprofit organizations (43.9 percent); colleges and universities (30.3 percent); and corporate or local businesses (28.4 percent).

More than half (51.3 percent) of community center respondents said they primarily served all ages at their main facility. They were followed by those who said their primary audience was made up of adults ages 19 to 64 (25.6 percent). Smaller numbers said children ages 4 to 12 (12.8 percent), teens (4.5 percent) or seniors (4.5 percent) were their primary audience.

Revenues & Expenditures

Respondents from community centers were slightly more likely than others to report that their revenues were higher in 2013 than in 2012. While 51.7 percent of community center respondents reported higher revenues in that time period, just 36.7 percent of non-community-center respondents saw higher revenues in 2013. Some 11.4 percent of community center respondents reported that their revenues were lower in 2013 than in 2012. Looking ahead, more than half of community center respondents also expect to see revenue increases in 2014 (53.7 percent) and in 2015 (56.1 percent).

Community center respondents report average operating expenditures that are slightly lower than the average for all facility types. While all respondents had an average operating expenditure in fiscal 2013 of $1,431,000, for community centers, the average was 15.1 percent lower at $1,215,000. Community centers projected that their operating expenditures would increase by 6.4 percent from 2013 to 2015, to an average of $1,293,000.

Community center respondents were slightly more likely than others to report that they had taken action to reduce their operating expenses. Some 88 percent of community center respondents said they had done so, compared with 80.3 percent of non-community-center respondents. The measures community center respondents were most likely to have employed include: improving energy efficiency (54.7 percent of community center respondents had done so); increasing fees (41.3 percent); reducing staff (38.7 percent); putting construction or renovation plans on hold (23.3 percent); and reducing hours of operation (20 percent).

Community Center Facilities

Community center respondents were more likely than others to report that the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2012 to 2013. Some 68.7 percent of community center respondents reported an increase in usage in that time period, compared with just 48.1 percent of non-community-center respondents. Just 6.7 percent of community center respondents said the number of people utilizing their facilities had decreased from 2012 to 2013. Looking forward, around two-thirds of community center respondents also expect to see usage increase in 2014 (66.2 percent), and in 2015 (68.7 percent).

Some 60.9 percent of community respondents reported that they have plans for construction over the next three years. They were most likely to be planning renovations to their existing facilities, with 41.7 percent of community center respondents indicating they had such plans. Another 30.1 percent reported they would be making additions, and 21.8 percent said they had plans for new facilities. They are planning to spend an average of $3,0006,000 on their construction plans, an increase of 13.5 percent compared with 2013.

The features most commonly found among community center respondents' facilities include: exercise studios (68.7 percent of community centers include them); locker rooms (68 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (64.7 percent); fitness centers (64 percent); indoor sports courts (60.7 percent); community or multipurpose centers (58.7 percent); bleachers and seating (57.3 percent); playgrounds (56.7 percent); concessions (51.3 percent); and open spaces such as natural areas and gardens (48.7 percent).

Some 33.3 percent of community center respondents reported that they are planning to add features to their facilities over the next three years. The 10 features they are most likely to be planning to add include:

  1. Splash play areas (23.1 percent of community center respondents with plans to add features)
  2. Fitness centers (21.5 percent)
  3. Dog parks (19.2 percent)
  4. Disc golf courses (17.3 percent)
  5. Exercise studios (17.3 percent)
  6. Concessions (11.5 percent)
  7. Outdoor tracks (11.5 percent)
  8. Bike or BMX parks (11.5 percent)
  9. Childcare centers (11.5 percent)
  10. Climbing walls (9.6 percent)

Programming

The top programs currently offered by community center respondents include: fitness programs (74.4 percent of community center respondents); holiday events and other special events (68.6 percent); mind-body-balance programs like tai chi and yoga (62.8 percent); youth sports teams (59.1 percent); day camps and summer camps (57.1 percent); educational programs (52.6 percent); programs for active older adults (51.9 percent); swimming programs (51.3 percent); arts and crafts (51.3 percent); and adult sports teams (48.7 percent).

Some 35.3 percent of community center respondents indicated that they have plans to add more programs at their facilities over the next three years. The 10 most commonly planned programs include:

  1. Special needs programs
  2. Programs for active older adults
  3. Adult sports teams
  4. Fitness programs
  5. Nutrition and diet counseling
  6. Sport training such as tennis or golf lessons
  7. Individual sports activities, such as running clubs
  8. Child care and day care
  9. Educational programs
  10. Teen programming
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