Feature Article - June 2019
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


On average, parks respondents said they manage 10.7 facilities, up slightly from 9.9 in 2018. More than three in 10 (30.4 percent) said they manage 10 or more facilities. (See Figure 40.) This compares with just 9.9 percent off non-parks respondents. Conversely, parks respondents are far less likely to manage just a single facility. While 19 percent of parks respondents said they manage just one facility, some 45.1 percent of non-parks respondents said they have just one facility to manage.

Parks respondents are more likely than non-parks respondents to reach either an all-ages audience or an audience of children ages 4 to 12. While 59 percent of parks respondents said they primarily reach all ages (up from 54.9 percent in 2018), just 31.7 percent of non-parks respondents reach an all-ages audience. And, while 25 percent of parks said their primary audience is children ages 4 to 12, just 13 percent of non-parks respondents said they primarily reach this age group. Other audiences served by parks include: adults 18 and up (10.7 percent of parks respondents said they primarily reach adults); teens (2.7 percent); seniors 65 and older (2.4 percent); and infants and toddlers (0.3 percent).

A majority of parks respondents (94.5 percent) said that they form partnerships with outside organizations, down slightly from 95.8 percent in 2018. This compares with 81.7 percent of non-parks respondents who said they had formed partnerships in 2019. The most common partners for parks are: local schools (74.9 percent of parks respondents partner with them); local governments (71 percent); nonprofit organizations (60.7 percent); corporations and local businesses (38.6 percent) and state government (38.5 percent). (See Figure 41.)

Revenues & Expenditures

The percentage of parks respondents who reported that their revenue grew year-over-year increased slightly from 2017 to 2018, with 44.2 percent indicating they saw an increase in 2017 and 45.5 percent reporting an increase in 2018. At the same time, the percentage who reported that their revenues had fallen remained virtually unchanged, with 9.1 percent reporting a decrease in 2017 and 9.4 percent reporting a decrease in 2018. (See Figure 42.)