Feature Article - June 2019
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2019 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping

The number of respondents who said they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next several years remained virtually unchanged in 2019, at 43 percent (down slightly from 43.1 percent in 2018). (See Figure 31.)

Respondents from parks and camps were once again the most likely to report that they had plans to add features. More than half of parks respondents (51.4 percent) and camp respondents (50.7 percent) said they had such plans. They were followed by Ys (42.5 percent) and rec centers (40.9 percent). One-third or fewer respondents from colleges (33.3 percent), schools (24.5 percent) and health clubs (20.8 percent) said they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next few years. The only facility type that saw an increase in the number who plan to add features from 2018 to 2019 was Ys.

The top 10 planned features for all facility types include:

  1. Splash play areas (21.1 percent of those with plans to add features will add splash play)
  2. Playgrounds (17.6 percent)
  3. Fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (17.1 percent)
  4. Synthetic turf sports fields (16.8 percent)
  5. Dog parks (15.7 percent)
  6. Park shelters (14.5 percent)
  7. Walking and hiking trails (13.8 percent)
  8. Park restrooms (13.8 percent)
  9. Bleachers and seating (12.9 percent)
  10. Fitness centers (12.5 percent)


There were only slight changes from 2018 in the types of programs commonly offered by survey respondents' facilities. The top 10 most commonly offered programs include: holiday events and other special events (provided by 65.3 percent of respondents); group exercise programs (60.2 percent); fitness programs such as cardio and strength (59.3 percent); youth sports teams (58.4 percent); educational programs (57 percent); day camps and summer camps (56.9 percent); mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (51.9 percent); adult sports teams (48.9 percent); arts and crafts (47 percent) and swimming programs (46.9 percent). (See Figure 32.)