Feature Article - June 2007
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General Survey Results

The least common amenities to be included were amusements, such as rides and arcades, which were included in only 5.5 percent of respondents' facilities. Less than 15 percent of respondents included ice rinks (10.3 percent) or synthetic turf fields (12.1 percent) in their facilities. (See Figure 25.)

Within the next several years, the most popular amenities respondents are planning to add include:

  • Park structures, including shelters, restroom buildings and so on
  • Indoor or outdoor waterpark or splash play areas
  • Trails and open spaces, including gardens and natural areas
  • Bleachers and seating
  • Playgrounds
  • Synthetic turf sports fields for sports like football, soccer and baseball
  • Fitness centers with cardio and weight equipment and/or group exercise rooms
  • Natural turf sports fields
  • Concession areas
  • Climbing walls

More parks and recreation departments were planning to add amenities than the average across all facilities. Nearly 22 percent of these facilities were planning to add park structures, compared to just over 13 percent of all facilities. Interestingly, skateparks also appear in the top 10 amenities parks and recreation departments are planning to add. Fifteen percent of these respondents are making such plans. Skateparks represent an innovative way to get teens involved in recreation and can provide a fun addition to a park that can help get the entire family interested.

Among colleges and universities, the most common amenity facilities said they were planning to add was synthetic turf sports fields, also the second most common amenity selected by schools and school districts. As these schools at all levels look to expand their programming of their outdoor sports fields, synthetic turf becomes an attractive option, due to its ability to cope with extended wear and tear.

YMCAs selected waterparks and splash play areas as the top amenity they are planning to add over the next several years. The second most popular choice for this group was climbing walls. For health clubs and sports clubs, the addition of indoor sports courts and gymnasiums was the most common amenity selected, followed by waterpark and splash play areas.

Waterparks and splash play areas also are the most common amenity that campgrounds, private camps, youth camps and RV parks are planning to add. Other popular additions in these facilities included fitness centers, trails and open spaces, park structures, indoor aquatic facilities, playgrounds and climbing walls.

Among resorts and resort hotels, the most common amenities respondents were planning to add were fitness centers, followed by waterparks and splash play areas and outdoor aquatic facilities.

Programming is also an important part of planning for facility managers and directors, and providing innovative and creative options for patrons is key to ensuring continued success.

The most popular program option across the board for all types of facilities included holiday events and other special events (currently offered by nearly 60 percent of facilities), educational programs and fitness programs (provided by more than 57 percent of facilities), day camps and summer camps (currently provided by 54 percent of facilities) and swimming programs (offered by 52.8 percent of facilities). Therapeutic programs, camping options and environmental education were some of the least common programming options across the board, and more than 9 percent of respondents do not offer any kind of programming at all for their facilities. (See Figure 26.)

The most popular option across the board, holiday events and other special events, were most likely to be programmed by respondents at YMCAs and park districts, with 84.2 percent and 78.9 percent of these facilities offering this type of option, respectively. These facilities also led the way in terms of educational programming.