Feature Article - June 2016
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2016 State of the Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping

Welcome to the 10th anniversary of our annual State of the Industry Report! Since June 2007, when we first reported the results on a 50-question survey that asked readers to provide a wide range of information about their facilities, we have been bringing this report to your desk at the beginning of each summer, providing an in-depth look at facility budgets, staffing, programs, building plans and much more.

It may sometimes seem like 10 years can fly by in the blink of an eye, but the truth is that a lot happens over the course of a decade. In the past 10 years, we've watched facility budgets take a big hit and then recover from the economic downturn. We've watched as some types of amenities, like splash play areas, dog parks and disc golf, have surged in popularity. We've seen construction plans get put on hold and then picked back up again as access to bonds and loans has improved.

Over the course of these 80-something pages, we'll take you on a tour through the detailed responses collected via our annual survey, aiming to paint a picture of the current state and trends affecting the management, construction, planning, programming, marketing, staffing and operations of recreation, sports and fitness facilities.

Before we dive into the numbers, I'd like to take a minute to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the readers who took the time to participate in our extensive survey. I know you have a lot on your plate, and the fact that you're willing to take the time and consideration to provide this information speaks volumes about how much you care about the industry, as well as how much you value the end result, which you're reading now. We couldn't put together this extensive report without your help. Thank you!

As we do in every June issue, we'll begin this report by providing an overall summary of the survey results, with information tabulated from all 2,116 respondents. In addition, we'll occasionally break things down here to provide a bit more detail on how different facility types are faring. In the sections that follow, we'll provide greater detail from specific industry segments. We begin with a look at the results from various regions of the country (see page 41). Then we'll provide a closer look at respondents whose facilities include aquatic elements (see page 52). From there, we take a look at some of the largest segments of our survey population, including parks and recreation (see page 64), colleges and universities (see page 72), schools and school districts (see page 78), health clubs (see page 84), and YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs (see page 88). Head to our website at recmanagement.com to learn even more, as we'll include special exclusive features there looking more closely at camps and community centers. And finally, be sure to stay tuned for the July 2016 issue, where we'll report the career and salary results of this survey in our annual Salary Survey report.