Feature Article - June 2017
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Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


Respondents from the Northeast, South Central states and West saw substantial increases in their construction budgets from 2016 to 2017. The Northeast reported a 58.6 percent increase, while the South Central region saw a 36.4 percent increase, and the West had a 25.9 percent increase. The Midwest also reported an increase to its average construction budget, of 16.3 percent. The only region reporting a decrease to construction budgets between 2016 and 2017 was the South Atlantic, which saw its average construction budget fall by 3.6 percent. (See Figure 35.)


The types of amenities included as part of recreation, sports and fitness facilities can vary quite a bit depending on which region you find yourself in. Many of these differences can be explained by the prevailing climate of each region (further north, you'll be more likely to find ice rinks, while in the south, shade is more of a necessity). Other times, features first arise in one region and then spread from there, such as skateparks and dog parks, which first became prominent in the West.

Respondents in the Northeast were more likely than other regions to feature: outdoor courts (64.8 percent include them), playgrounds (59.1 percent), natural turf sports fields (58.4 percent), walking and hiking trails (53.4 percent), synthetic turf sports fields (24.2 percent), community gardens (22.8 percent), climbing walls (22.4 percent), challenge courses and ropes courses (16.4 percent), ice rinks (16 percent), nature centers (14.6 percent), and amusements like rides and arcades (3.6 percent).

Respondents in the Midwest were more likely than those in other regions to feature: concessions (54 percent include them), bike trails (33.6 percent), indoor running and walking tracks (25 percent), and disc golf courses (22.7 percent).

Respondents in the South Atlantic region were more likely than those in other regions to include: open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (57.5 percent include them), park shelters (52.9 percent) and waterfronts, marinas or beaches (27.6 percent).

Respondents in the South Central region were more likely than other regions to include: bleachers and eating (67.3 percent), fitness centers (63.3 percent), classrooms and meeting rooms (62 percent), locker rooms (61.2 percent), Wi-Fi services (60.8 percent), indoor sports courts (60.4 percent), exercise studios (52.2 percent), indoor aquatic facilities (38.4 percent), outdoor aquatic facilities (36.3 percent), outdoor running tracks (24.1 percent), and waterparks (16.3 percent).

Respondents from the West were more likely than other regions to include: park restroom structures (48 percent), community and multipurpose centers (43.6 percent), skateparks (29.3 percent), fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (26.5 percent), dog parks (25.9 percent), childcare facilities (22.7 percent), splash play areas (21.8 percent), campgrounds (17.8 percent), golf courses (15.9 percent), and skiing or winter recreation areas (11.8 percent).

Respondents from the South Atlantic were the most likely to report that they had plans to add more features to their facilities over the next three years. Some 44.8 percent of respondents in the South Atlantic region said they had such plans. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: splash play areas, fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment, park shelters, fitness centers, park restrooms, classrooms and meeting rooms, community or multipurpose centers, bike trails, locker rooms, concessions, indoor tracks, waterparks, skateparks, nature centers, outdoor aquatic centers, outdoor tracks, childcare centers, and waterfronts, marinas or beaches.

Some 42.7 percent of respondents in the West said they would be adding features at their facilities over the next three years. They were more likely than those in other regions to be adding: playgrounds, Wi-Fi services, exercise studio rooms, disc golf courses, open spaces like garden and natural areas, community gardens, bike or BMX parks, and campgrounds.

In the South Central region, 40.4 percent of respondents said they would be adding features to their facilities in the next few years. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: walking and hiking trails, bleachers and seating, climbing walls, and outdoor sports courts.

In the Northeast, 39.9 percent of respondents plan to add features at their facilities over the next three years. They were more likely than those in other regions to be planning to add: synthetic turf sports fields, indoor courts, natural turf fields, ice rinks, and amusement.

Finally, Midwestern respondents were the least likely to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities in the next three years, with 39.6 percent indicating they had such plans. They were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add dog parks, challenge courses and ropes courses, and skiing or other winter recreation areas.