Feature Article - June 2012
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation



Building Plans

While more 2012 parks respondents planned to put construction plans on hold than in 2011, the number who indicated that they had no plans to build new facilities or additions or make renovations remained consistent. In 2011, 35.1 percent of parks respondents said they had no construction plans over the next several years, and in 2012, 35.2 percent reported that they had no plans. Slightly fewer parks respondents had plans to build new (27.9 percent vs. 28.2 percent) or add to their existing facilities (24.2 percent vs. 25.5 percent). And there was little change in the number with renovations in the works—nearly half (49.9 percent) in 2012 and in 2011 (49.4 percent). (See Figure 43.)

Parks respondents with plans for construction were budgeting $3,440,000 on average for those plans. This is 18.6 percent less than the average construction budget for all facilities in 2012. However, it does represent a slight, 0.9 percent, increase from parks respondents' reported construction budget in 2011.

There was no change in the features included among the 10 amenities most likely to be found at parks respondents' facilities in 2012 from 2011. While some of these features moved slightly higher or lower on the list, they still include: playgrounds; park structures such as shelters and restroom buildings; open spaces such as fields and gardens; trails; outdoor sports courts for sports like basketball or tennis; bleachers and seating; natural turf sports fields for sports like soccer, baseball and football; concession stands; classrooms and meeting rooms; and community centers.

More parks respondents had plans to add features over the next three years in 2012 than in 2011. While 47.5 percent of 2011 respondents had such plans, in 2012, that number increases to 48.6 percent. Parks respondents are also more likely than the general survey population to be planning to add features and amenities at their facilities. Some 39.6 percent of all respondents have such plans.

The most commonly planned additions among parks respondents include:

  1. Dog parks (planned by 29.6 percent of parks respondents who will be adding features)
  2. Trails (25.5 percent)
  3. Splash play areas (23.4 percent)
  4. Playgrounds (23.4 percent)
  5. Park structures such as shelters and restroom buildings (22.8 percent)
  6. Open spaces such as fields and gardens (18.3 percent)
  7. Disc golf courses (17.7 percent)
  8. Synthetic turf sports fields (16.9 percent)
  9. Skateparks (14.8 percent)
  10. Concessions (13.7 percent)