Feature Article - June 2015
Find a printable version here

Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


Respondents in the Northeast were the most likely region to include the following features as part of their facilities: outdoor sports courts (59.8 percent have them); natural turf sports fields (55 percent); and synthetic turf sports fields (23.9 percent).

Respondents in the Midwest were the most likely region to include: open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (52.7 percent); walking and hiking trails (49.6 percent); indoor aquatic facilities (32.4 percent); bike trails (31.7 percent); indoor running tracks (25.9 percent); waterfronts or marinas (23.3 percent); disc golf courses (22 percent); ice rinks (18.1 percent); golf courses (16.4 percent); waterparks (14.2 percent); and skiing or winter recreation areas (10.8 percent).

Respondents in the South Atlantic region were the most likely to include: playgrounds (57.2 percent); park shelters such as gazebos and picnic shelters (54.7 percent); park restroom structures (50.2 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (40.4 percent); fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (22.2 percent); splash play areas (19.6 percent); nature centers (15.9 percent); and challenge courses and ropes courses (11.7 percent).

Respondents in the South Central region were the most likely to include: classrooms and meeting rooms (64.5 percent); bleachers and seating (63.5 percent); locker rooms (59.6 percent); concession areas (57.1 percent); fitness centers (55.3 percent); Wi-Fi services (54.6 percent); indoor sports courts (52.8 percent); exercise studio rooms (43.6 percent); outdoor running tracks (25.5 percent); and climbing walls (19.1 percent).

Respondents in the West were the most likely to include: community centers or multipurpose centers (39 percent); skateparks (26.7 percent); child care centers (21.3 percent); dog parks (21 percent); campgrounds (16.5 percent); bike or BMX parks (8.9 percent); and amusements such as rides and arcades (4.3 percent).

The 10 features that show the greatest variation between regions include: skateparks (included by 16 percent more respondents in the West than in the South Central region); ice rinks (included by 15.7 percent more respodnents in the Midwest than in the South Atlantic or South Central regions); indoor running tracks (included by 13.5 percent more respondents in the Midwest than in the West); disc golf courses (included by 13.2 percent more respondents in the Midwest than in the Northeast); concession areas (included by 13 percent more respondents in the South Central region than in the West); park restroom structures (included by 12.9 percent more respondents in the South Atlantic region than in the South Central states); park shelters (include by 12.3 percent more respondents in the South Central region than in the West); outdoor aquatic facilities (included by 11.7 percent more respondents in the South Atlantic region than in the Northeast); waterparks (included by 11.5 percent more respondents in the Midwest than in the South Central region); and locker rooms (included by 11.2 percent more respondents in the South Central region than in the West).

Respondents from the Northeast were the most likely to report that they had plans to add features to their facilities over the next three years. Some 45.7 percent of respondents in this region said they had such plans, up from 41.7 percent in 2014. Northeastern respondents are more likely than other regions to be planning to add: playgrounds, fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment, park shelters, Wi-Fi services, concession areas, exercise studio rooms, locker rooms, climbing walls, outdoor aquatic facilities, indoor aquatic facilities, and ice rinks.

Some 44.2 percent of respondents in the West report that they have plans to add features over the next three years. This region also saw the biggest increase in such plans, as just 34.4 percent of Western respondents said they had plans to add features in the 2014 survey. Western respondents are more likely than other regions to be planning to add: dog parks, classrooms and meeting rooms, community or multipurpose centers, indoor running tracks, bike or BMX parks, campgrounds, amusements, skiing and winter recreation, and golf courses.

Some 42.2 percent of South Central respondents report that they have plans to add features over the next three years, up from 38.3 percent in 2014. South Central respondents are more likely than other regions to be planning to add: synthetic turf sports fields, bleachers and seating, open spaces such as gardens and natural areas, waterparks, nature centers, waterfronts and marinas, and child care centers.

Some 42.1 percent of South Atlantic respondents are planning to add features over the next three years, up from 34 percent in 2014. South Atlantic respondents are more likely than other regions to be planning to add: splash play areas, walking and hiking trails, park restroom structures, bike trails, fitness centers, natural turf sports fields, outdoor sports courts, challenge courses and ropes courses, and outdoor running tracks.

Respondents from the Midwest were the least likely to be planning to add features at their facilities over the next three years, though 40.6 percent in 2015 said they had such plans, up from 39.2 percent in 2014. Midwestern respondents are more likely than other regions to be planning to add: disc golf courses, indoor sports courts, and skateparks.