Feature Article - June 2016
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Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


Construction Plans

Respondents from the West and South Atlantic regions were the most likely to report that they had plans to build new facilities, or make additions or renovations to their existing facilities. Some 69.6 percent of Western respondents and 69 percent of South Atlantic respondents had plans for construction. They were followed by respondents in the South Central region (67.3 percent of whom planned construction); the Midwest (64.9 percent); and the Northeast (62.8 percent). (See Figure 34.)

Respondents in the South Atlantic were the most likely to be planning to build new, with 28.7 percent indicating they would be doing so. They were followed by the South Central region (28.3 percent of whom are planning new buildings) and the Midwest (27.6 percent). Respondents in the Northeast were least likely to be planning new construction, with 21.2 percent indicating they had such plans.

Plans for additions were most prevalent among respondents in the South Central region (30.7 percent report that they plan to make additions) and the South Atlantic (30.4 percent). Northeastern respondents were the least likely to be planning additions, though more than one-quarter (26.4 percent) indicated that they did have such plans.

Respondents from the West are the most likely to be planning renovations. More than half (52 percent) of Western respondents said they would be making renovations to their existing facilities. They were followed by those in the South Atlantic (50 percent of whom plan renovations), the Northeast (48.9 percent) and the South Central region (48.4 percent). Respondents in the Midwest are the least likely to be planning renovations.

Respondents in the South Atlantic region plan to spend the most on their construction plans, with an average cost of $4,086,000, 16.1 percent higher than the average for all regions. They were followed by the West, at $3,756,000, or 6.7 percent higher than the across-the-board average. In the South Central region, respondents' spending plans fall closely in line with the average for all regions, at just 0.1 percent less, or $3,514,000. Respondents in the Midwest plan to spend 2.2 percent less, and those in the Northeast have construction budgets that are 25.2 percent less than the average for all regions.

Most regions saw a decrease in their construction budgets from 2015 to 2016. The only exception is the South Atlantic region, which reported a 2.7 percent increase in construction budgets from 2015 to 2016. (See Figure 35.). The greatest decrease is found among those in the South Central states, with a 37.6 percent decrease. They were followed by the Northeast (down 16.1 percent) and the West (down 15.4 percent).

Sometimes the types of amenities included as a part of recreation, sports and fitness facilities can vary quite a bit from one region to another. These differences are usually easily explained when one considers the prevailing climate of specific regions (i.e., ice rinks make more sense in the frigid north than the sunny south). Other times, features first became popular in one region, such as skateparks in the West.

Respondents in the Northeast were more likely than other regions to feature: outdoor courts (60.6 percent include them); natural turf sports fields (58.2 percent); synthetic turf sports fields (28.5 percent); waterfronts and marinas (21.7 percent); ice rinks (17.7 percent); and challenge or ropes courses (12.4 percent).

Respondents in the Midwest were more likely than those in other regions to feature: bleachers and seating (60.5 percent include them); playgrounds (59.9 percent); locker rooms (57.7 percent); open spaces (54.8 percent); bike trails (32.2 percent); indoor aquatic facilities (29.7 percent); indoor tracks (24.2 percent); campgrounds (16.1 percent); and skiing or winter recreation areas (10.1 percent).

South Atlantic respondents were more likely than those from other regions to include: classrooms and meeting rooms (60.5 percent include them); park shelters (57.1 percent); indoor courts (54.3 percent); walking and hiking trails (50.3 percent); exercise studio rooms (44.3 percent); fitness trails or outdoor fitness equipment (24.1 percent); nature centers (13.9 percent); and amusements (4.5 percent).

In the South Central region, respondents were more likely than others to include: concessions (61 percent include them); Wi-Fi services (56.3 percent); fitness centers (51.6 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (40.6 percent); outdoor tracks (28.3 percent); disc golf courses (25.2 percent); splash play areas (22.8 percent); and waterparks (15.7 percent).

Respondents from the West were more likely than their counterparts from other regions to include the following in their facilities: park restroom structures (50.2 percent include them); community centers (40.4 percent); skateparks (27.9 percent); childcare centers (24.1 percent); dog parks (22.8 percent); community gardens (20.8 percent); climbing walls (19.4 percent); golf courses (19.4 percent); and bike or BMX parks (9.2 percent).

Respondents from the South Central region were the most likely to report that they had plans to add additional features at their facilities over the next three years. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: splash play areas; walking or hiking trails; dog parks; park restroom structures; bike trails; disc golf courses; bleachers and seating; locker rooms; skateparks; waterparks; nature centers; outdoor aquatic facilities; campgrounds; and childcare centers.

Some 44.7 percent of Midwestern respondents said they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next few years. They were more likely than their peers in other regions to be planning to add: fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment; park shelters; fitness centers; Wi-Fi; concessions; open spaces; challenge courses or ropes courses; indoor tracks; waterfronts or marinas; ice rinks; and skiing or winter recreation areas.

Some 42.2 percent of respondents from the West have plans to add more features at their facilities over the next few years. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: playgrounds; classrooms and meeting rooms; exercise studio rooms; natural turf sports fields; indoor courts; community centers; climbing walls; bike/BMX parks; and golf courses.

Some 41.8 percent of respondents in the Northeast are planning to add features at their facilities. They are more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: synthetic turf sports fields; and community gardens.

Respondents from the South Atlantic region were the least likely to have plans to add features at their facilities over the next few years. Some 38.6 percent of respondents in this region had such plans. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: outdoor courts; indoor aquatic facilities; outdoor tracks; and amusements.