Feature Article - June 2020
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Trends in Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


A majority of park respondents (94.9%) said that they form partnerships with outside organizations, up very slightly, from 94.5% in 2019. This compares with just 83.6% of non-park respondents who said they form such partnerships. The most common partners for parks are: local schools (73.7%); local government (73.7%); nonprofit organizations (61.7%); state government (45.8%); and corporate or local businesses (41.4%). (See Figure 42.)

Revenues & Expenditures

The percentage of park respondents reporting an increase in revenue was up for 2019, with more than half (52.1%) reporting that their revenues in 2019 were higher than in 2018. At the same time, 8.3% reported a drop in revenues, and 39.7% said their revenues had remained unchanged. (See Figure 43.)

When the Industry Report Survey was taken in January, nearly half (49.7%) of park respondents were expecting to see their revenues increase, and just 4% were expecting revenues to fall in 2020. However, when the COVID-19 Update Survey was taken in early May, those numbers were dramatically different, with just 10.3% expecting revenues to either hold steady or increase in 2020. The vast majority—89.7%—of park respondents in May said their 2020 revenues would be lower than in 2019. Well over a third (35.8%) of park respondents were expecting their revenues to fall by 50% or more. Another 32.3% were expecting declines of 30 to 40%, and 18.4% were expecting a drop of 10 to 20%.