Feature Article - June 2014
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A Look at Regional Trends

Regional Information


The five features that show the greatest variation from region to region include: outdoor aquatic facilities, synthetic turf sports fields, disc golf courses, skateparks and ice rinks. While 38 percent in the West have outdoor aquatic facilities, in the Northeast, only 21.4 percent of respondents include them. Nearly a quarter (24.1 percent) of Northeastern respondents include synthetic turf sports fields, compared with just 12.2 percent in the South Central region. Some 20.9 percent of Midwestern respondents include disc golf courses, compared with just 6 percent in the Northeast. Some 23.9 percent of respondents in the West include skateparks, vs. 8.2 percent in the South Central region. And 17.6 percent in the Northeast include ice rinks, while none of the South Central respondents have ice rinks.

Representing a change from the past two years' reports, when South Atlantic respondents were most likely to be planning to add features, in 2014, respondents from the Northeast were most likely to report that they had plans to add more features to their facilities over the next few years. Some 41.7 percent of Northeastern respondents indicated that they had such plans. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add playgrounds, fitness centers, concession areas, exercise studio rooms, classrooms and meeting rooms, locker rooms, climbing walls, childcare centers and golf courses.

Some 39.2 percent of respondents in the Midwest have plans to add features at their facilities over the next several years. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add indoor sports courts, indoor running tracks, waterfronts and marinas, ice rinks, and skiing or outdoor winter recreation areas.

Some 38.3 percent of respondents in the South Central region have plans to add features at their facilities. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add splash play areas, park structures such as shelters and restroom buildings, bleachers and seating, outdoor sports courts, natural turf sports fields, challenge courses or ropes courses, waterparks, nature centers, indoor aquatic facilities, outdoor running tracks, bike or BMX parks, campgrounds, outdoor aquatic facilities and amusement such as rides and arcades.

Some 34.3 percent of respondents in the West have plans to add features at their facilities. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add synthetic turf sports fields and open spaces such as gardens and natural areas.

Finally, respondents in the South Atlantic region were least likely to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities. Some 34 percent of these respondents said that they had such plans, and they were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add trails, disc golf courses, dog parks, community or multipurpose centers and skateparks.

Programming

Most types of programming were most commonly offered either in the West or the Northeast. As was the case in 2013, respondents from the West in 2014 were most likely to offer many types of programs, including: fitness programs; adult sports teams; programs for active older adults; aquatic exercise programs; individual sports activities such as running clubs; teen programming; personal training; daycare or preschool; special needs programs; nutrition or diet counseling; therapeutic programs and climbing programs.

Respondents in the Northeast were more likely than those in other regions to offer holiday events and other special events; educational programs; day camps and summer camps; youth sports teams; mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi; swimming programming; sports training such as tennis or golf instruction; arts and crafts, trips; performing arts such as music, dance and theater; and environmental education.

Respondents from the South Atlantic region were more likely than those in other regions to provide sports tournaments or races; festivals and concerts; and water sports.

Respondents from the South Central region were more likely than those in other regions to provide camping programs.

Interestingly, respondents from the Midwest were not more likely than those from any other region to offer any specific type of programming.

Respondents from the Northeast were the most likely to report that they had plans to add more programming at their facilities over the next three years. Some 32.4 percent of Northeastern respondents will be adding programs. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to have plans to add: educational programs; programs for active older adults; teen programming; adult sports teams; environmental education; special needs programming; individual sports activities; nutrition and diet counseling; performing arts programs; daycare or preschool programs; swimming programs; aquatic exercise programs; and climbing programs.

Some 29.1 percent of South Atlantic respondents said they have plans to add programs over the next three years. They were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add fitness programs; holidays and other special events; sports tournaments and races; sport training; water sports; arts and crafts; trips; and therapeutic programs.

In the Midwest, 28.6 percent of respondents said they plan to add new programming at their facilities over the next few years. They were more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi; and day camps and summer camps.

Some 28 percent of respondents in the South Central states said they plan to add new programs over the next three years. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add personal training and camping programs.

Finally, respondents in the West were the least likely to report that they plan to add new programs at their facilities. That said, more than a quarter (26.1 percent) do have such plans. They are more likely than respondents in other regions to be planning to add youth sports teams; and festivals and concerts.