Feature Article - June 2008
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A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

As the summer recreation season gets into full swing, we once again take a step back from the specific niches of the managed recreation, sports and fitness facilities across the United States—from climbing walls and playground surfacing to fitness programming and locker room design—to look at the more general trends impacting the industry and its various subgroups.

This helpful exercise gives us all a chance to determine if what we think we're hearing—in the news, at conferences and seminars, in the classroom, and in our own facilities in small towns and big cities alike—is backed up by hard numbers throughout the industry. Is budget crunching adding pressure to other facilities? Of course. Are others concerned about creating interesting program options and outstanding facilities to get more patrons in the door? Certainly. What is the public demanding, and how are facilities of all types responding?

Have a look through these pages, and you'll get a sense of where things stand today—and where they're expected to go tomorrow—for the industry. We've asked professionals from across myriad types of facilities, from parks and recreation departments operating city-wide to niche health clubs catering to a niche clientele, to take part in our industry-wide, confidential survey. We asked them to answer questions covering the most important aspects of their facilities, including operating costs and revenues, community usage statistics, planned upgrades and programming trends and more. Participants were invited via e-mail, fax and our Web site to respond to our questions, and more than 2,000 got on board and let us know how things are faring at their own facilities.

The end result is what you're holding in your hands: our special report on the state of the managed recreation industry. Keep reading to learn more about what others are saying—and where your own facilities stand in comparison.