Feature Article - June 2007
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From Cost to Coast, and Everywhere in Between

Amenities fall across expected regional distinctions, with more facilities in the Northeast reporting that they had synthetic turf fields (perhaps representing greater weather and programming challenges in this region), ice rinks and amusements. Respondents in this region were much less likely than those in other regions to include a skatepark as part of their facilities. However, Northeastern facilities were more likely than respondents in other regions to say that they are planning to add a skatepark in the next few years. The number-one amenity respondents in this region said they were planning to add in the next three years was synthetic turf sports fields for games like soccer, baseball and football. Playgrounds and waterparks and splash play areas received less emphasis in this region than in others.

Facilities in the Midwest were more likely than others to include indoor aquatic facilities, waterparks or splash play areas, ice rinks, running tracks and skateparks. They were far less likely to include synthetic turf sports fields or climbing walls. That said, respondents from the Midwest did include both synthetic turf fields and climbing walls in their top 10 list of amenities they plan to add in the next few years. In this region, though, it seems that play's the thing, with playgrounds representing the number-one amenity facilities are planning to add in the next several years.

In the South Atlantic states, you're more likely to find outdoor sports courts than in other regions, as well as park structures, trails and open spaces, community centers and multipurpose centers, and waterfronts and marinas. On the other hand, you're far less likely to find indoor aquatic facilities, climbing walls, skateparks and ice rinks. The lack of indoor aquatics and ice rinks can probably be attributed to climate. The top three planned amenities for the next three years in the South Atlantic region include trails and open spaces, park structures and waterpark or splash play areas. Also making an appearance in the top 10 amenities planned by respondents in this region were skateparks, sports courts-both indoor and outdoor-and fitness centers.

Respondents from the South Central region were more likely than others to include bleachers and seating, indoor sports courts, fitness centers and running tracks. On the other hand, they were less likely to include park structures, trails and open spaces, skateparks and synthetic turf sports fields. This region was the least likely to include an ice rink, probably due to climate. When it comes to planned additions over the next several years, this region varies little from the general population, with slightly more prevalence given to concession areas, locker rooms, and indoor and outdoor sports courts, and slightly less to playgrounds. Fitness centers and climbing walls do not appear among the top 10 planned amenities for this region.

Facilities in the Western region were more likely to include outdoor aquatic facilities, climbing walls, skateparks and golf courses. They were less likely to include concession areas, indoor sports courts, running track and ice rinks. Top planned amenities among respondents in the Western region closely match those planned across the nation.