Feature Article - June 2016
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


Park Facilities

The number of parks respondents who reported an increase in usage at their facilities remained steady from 2014 to 2015. In last year's report, 60.6 percent of parks respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased from 2013 to 2014. This year, 60.7 percent of parks respondents said usage at their facilities had increased from 2014 to 2015. At the same time, the number of parks respondents who reported decreases in usage fell from 8.1 percent reporting a decrease from 2013 to 2014, to 5.2 percent reporting a decrease from 2014 to 2015. (See Figure 45.)

Looking forward, the number of parks respondents who expect to see further increases in the number of people using their facilities holds fairly steady, with 61.8 percent projecting an increase in 2016, and 60.1 percent expecting an increase in 2017. At the same time, the number expecting a decrease drops to 2.6 percent projecting a decrease in 2016 and 1 percent projecting a decrease in 2017.

The number of parks respondents who have plans for construction over the next three years has been increasing steadily since 2012, when 64.8 percent had such plans. In 2016, 74.7 percent of parks respondents had plans for construction, up from 72.6 percent last year. One-third (33.3 percent) are planning to build new facilities, while another three in 10 (30.1 percent) said they plan to make additions to their existing facilities. More than half (55.7 percent) said they have plans to make renovations to their existing facilities in the next three years. (See Figure 46.)

Parks respondents were much more likely to be planning construction than non-parks respondents. While 74.7 percent of parks respondents in 2016 have construction plans, 60.5 percent of non-parks respondents had such plans.

While the average budget for construction for all respondents fell by 12.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, parks respondents reported a much smaller decrease to their budget for construction, with a 1 percent drop from $3,880,000 in 2015 to $3,842,000 in 2016. Parks respondents plan to spend 9.2 percent more than the average for all respondents.