Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Community Recreation & Sports Centers

Likewise, these respondents were more likely than the general survey population to be expecting to see the number of people using their facilities grow over the next several years. More than half (53.2 percent) saw that number grow in 2009, while 52 percent expect growth in 2010. In 2011, nearly six in 10 (59.7 percent) are expecting to see the number of people using their facilities increase. (See Figure 59.)

Community centers tended to operate leaner than the across-the-board average. They are among those facilities with the lowest operating budgets, as well as the smallest number of staff members.

They also are among the few who expect their operating budgets to grow in fiscal 2010. In fiscal 2009, community center respondents reported an average operating budget that was 40.3 percent lower than the general survey population, at $1,160,000. They are expecting an increase of 4.8 percent in 2010, to $1,216,000. This compares with a 4.5 percent drop expected by the general survey population. In 2011, they again project an increase, with average operating budgets rising 8.6 percent.

The majority (93.8 percent) of community center respondents said they had taken measures to reduce their expenditures. The top action taken was improving energy efficiency, undertaken by nearly two-thirds (65.7 percent) of these respondents. More than half (54.5 percent) said they had reduced staff. Other measures taken included increasing fees (44.4 percent), putting construction on hold (37.6 percent), cutting hours of operation (28.1 percent), and cutting programs and health services (27.5 percent). Other than health clubs, they were the least likely to have closed facilities, though 6.2 percent of community center respondents said they had.

On average, community center respondents employ 90.4 workers. The majority (70.8 percent) are planning to maintain their current staff levels in 2010. While 12.4 percent are planning to cut staff, more (16.9 percent) are planning to hire this year, adding an average of 28.8 workers: 12.2 volunteers, 9.5 part-time employees, 3.5 seasonal employees and 3.3 full-time workers.