Feature Article - June 2007
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Urban Centers, Suburban Growth and Rural Recreation

Likewise, the greatest revenue increases are expected among suburban facilities over the next several years. From 2005 to 2006, 61.4 percent of respondents from suburban facilities said they saw increases in their revenues. By 2007 to 2008, more than 67 percent are anticipating increases in revenue. Urban and rural communities were far less likely to report increases in revenues from 2005 to 2006. Less than half of respondents in each of these groups said their revenues had increased in this time period. However, by 2007 to 2008, more than 62 percent of respondents in each group are projecting revenue increases.

Respondents from urban areas are expecting the greatest increase in their average annual operating expenditures, projecting an 8.8 percent increase from $1,344,671 on average in fiscal 2006 to $1,463,211 on average in fiscal 2008. Slower rates of increase were projected by respondents from facilities in suburban and rural communities. Those in suburban communities projected a 7.5 percent increase for the same time period from $1,337,291 on average in fiscal 2006 to $1,437,865 on average in fiscal 2008. Rural communities-whose operating expenditures were more than $340,000 lower than the average across all community types-were projecting the smallest rates of increase. Respondents in these communities projected a 7.3 percent increase from $837,984 on average in fiscal 2006 to $898,906 on average in fiscal 2008.

Despite their much smaller expenditures on operations, though, rural facilities were the most likely to be planning changes to their facilities-particularly adding to or renovating their existing facilities. Nearly four out of every five respondents from rural areas had plans of some kind for their facilities. Suburban facilities were the least likely to have current plans to build new facilities, or to add onto or renovate their existing facilities. More than a quarter said they currently have no plans. That said, they were slightly more likely than their urban and rural counterparts to be planning to build new. Urban respondents were the least likely to be planning new facilities or planning to add on to their existing facilities, though they were more likely than their suburban counterparts to be planning renovations. (See Figure 34.)

On the other hand, urban respondents were planning the greatest expenditures on their building plans, with more than $4.7 million budgeted for such plans. Suburban respondents had slightly less budgeted, with $4.1 million to spend on new facilities, additions and renovations. Rural respondents were planning to spend the smallest dollar amount on their building plans-$2.8 million.