Get the Ball Rolling: Starting a Recreational Center in Your Town

There are many ways to bring a community together, but few places are a better hub for community gathering and fun than a recreation center. Just about everyone from kids to adults to seniors can find something to enjoy about their local recreation center. The benefits are numerous but starting a recreation center can seem like a daunting task. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on building a recreation center in your town, SFA|SFM can help. In this article, we’ll give you an idea of what an endeavor like this entails and how you can get started.

Concept

The very first stage is coming up with your concept. Recreation centers are versatile facilities, so you can go a lot of different ways with them. The conceptual phase is very basic and just lets you get your ideas out on paper so you can decide what kind of facility you want to build. At this stage, you’ll create your vision and your goals for the recreation center. Once you have a concept, it’s time to start taking more serious steps toward making the vision a reality.

Presenting to the City

Before you can take any further steps, if you, as a city leader, are looking to bring a recreation center to the community, you’ll need to run the idea by your committee. At this point, you’ll need to start looking into reliable sources for commissioning a market feasibility study. This will be included in your proposal for starting the recreation center. This is where Sports Facility Advisory enters the process. Moving forward, you’ll want to work with a company who has the immense experience needed for starting a successful recreation center. We can provide you with a request for proposal, or RFP, to give you even more detailed information about what we provide and what we’ll be doing to ensure that the new recreation center in your city will improve the health and economic vitality for your community. If you choose us, the next step will be conducting a market feasibility study.

Feasibility Study and Financial Forecasting

Now, the overall goal of a recreation center is to give your community a place to have fun, participate in activities, and strengthen the community, socially and economically. But if the demand isn’t there and it’s not financially feasible, your facility won’t do any of those things and it could be a detriment to your city instead. That’s why feasibility studies are so essential to the process. A feasibility study will help you get a better idea of your demographic and what they’re looking for in a recreation facility. A feasibility study will outline the plan, how the plan will be put into action, financial projections, project development ideas, detailed market data, and much more. A comprehensive feasibility assessment is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it’s going to be a big part of what you present to potential funding sources in order to convince them to invest. For convenience sake, here is a brief list of what you can expect to find in a market feasibility study:
  • Estimated development costs
  • Operating budgets
  • Economic impact forecast
  • Job creation data
  • Summary of the SFA methodology
  • Summary of additional findings
Financial forecasting is also a big part of this stage because it will give you a good idea of your daily, monthly, and yearly operational costs and much more. Having detailed financial information is the only safe way to move forward with a big project like this.

Funding

The next strategy you’ll need to implement is a funding strategy. Your funding strategy has long-term effects on your recreation center, so it’s important that you consider every angle when creating it. You want to make sure you get your facility fully funded, but you also want to be sure your partnerships make strategic sense. Think about what your investors can bring to the recreation center. When recruiting investors, you’ll need to come up with two different kinds of packets. These are:
  • The Community Information Packet – A packet made available to the public. This is meant to generate excitement and inform the community about the impact the recreation will have.
  • The Investor Information Packet – These packets are for the private investor sector. This gives them a breakdown of the feasibility data while also creating excitement and explaining why the recreation center is an investable opportunity.
These packets are great for driving excitement and putting out feelers for investors, but it’s just a small step. Next, detailed and engaging presentations are needed to present to investors. However, if you’re building your recreation center as a city project, the funding stage is a bit different. You’ll need to work with other public officials to present your project to citizens, local businesses, schools, user groups, and other potential stakeholders.

Concrete

With your funding secured and support from the city, you’ll begin work toward building your recreation center. It’s a long road to this stage, and there’s plenty of work left to be done. You still need to select staff, develop your brand, and undergo many other pre-opening tasks. That’s not to mention the grand opening and what comes after. This may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. You don’t have to do it alone.

Contact SFA|SFM Today

SFA|SFM has proven time and time again our ability to take a concept and bring it to concrete. Not only that, but we also can lead you through the pre-opening necessities and offer turnkey management solutions for ongoing support after your recreation center opens. If you’re wanting to start a recreation center in your city, contact SFA|SFM today. We can help you get the ball rolling as soon as possible.