Feature Article - June 2007
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Fit Facilities


hether it's in our parks and recreation facilities, local community centers, colleges, schools, YMCAs, health clubs or any of a number of other facilities that provide recreational outlets for people of all ages and abilities, there is a great push to get more people active and involved in their communities. This push is occurring in spite of the fact that most of these facilities are under increasing pressure from shrinking budgets, the need for facility improvements or updates, and staff issues.

In the next three years, the top issues of concern for all types of facilities include budgets, equipment and facility maintenance, staffing concerns, marketing to increase participation, and creating new and innovative programming to attract and retain members. Programs that target specific groups such as older adults, teens or youth are becoming more prevalent as the awareness of the need for a major change in Americans' health takes hold across the population.

Where will we be three years from now? Who could have predicted the current popularity of yoga and Spinning? Who could have foreseen improvements in playground safety 40 years ago? And 400 years ago, who would have expected cities and towns to take the lead to create public spaces where people of all backgrounds could gather in their leisure time for recreational activities?

Will budget crunching lead more recreation, sports and fitness facilities to engage in creative partnering to improve their facilities—and their reach? Will the need for equipment and maintenance improvements lead them to close their doors, or increase their fees for members? Will staffing pressures lead facilities to increase their requirements for certification or background checks?

Only time can tell what changes will be wrought in the recreation landscape.

And we'll weigh in with further research and analysis. In the meantime, we'd love to hear how these trends are affecting you. Drop us a line at editor@recmanagement to give us your thoughts.