How Does a Recreation Center Enhance a Community?
For the children of working parents throughout the United States, there’s a gap in time between when the school bell rings and when they arrive at the dinner table. Much can happen within that time frame and if there isn’t a place to go to participate in organized activities, or even do homework, the perils of disadvantaged neighborhoods threaten to swallow them whole.
That’s not the only gap. In many U.S. neighborhoods, places that serve the community’s citizens don’t exist either. Whether it’s a meeting place, a sports facility, or a community stage, there aren’t central places where they can do life.
A quality recreation center is a valuable asset to any community. A well-run community center serves as a thriving hub of activity for youth, families, senior citizens, civic organizations, parks and recreation departments, and more. Unfortunately, in many cities, community centers aren’t meeting the needs of the people around them. In some areas, no community center currently exists.
At Sports Facilities Advisory, we understand the critical importance of strong community centers and have partnered with communities across the country to provide this crucial support. Through our work and research, we’ve seen four major benefits of having an active community recreation center.
Recreation Centers Have a Positive Impact on Community Youth
A vibrant community recreation center can have a stabilizing effect on the lives of young people. By providing safe and adequately equipped spaces for physical activities like dance, martial arts, yoga, basketball, and other sports, community centers instill discipline, healthy exercise habits, and teamwork. Community centers create the perfect setting for local mentorship programs, providing guidance and leadership development for the youth of the community. The role of community recreation centers is especially crucial for communities that lack the necessary facilities to keep their children in safe environments. After school programs provide a refuge for at-risk youth, helping to reduce crime rates, court costs, and other costs to the community. A report from the University of Chicago, links afterschool programs, which can be found in many recreation centers, with reduced drug use.
Additionally, the National Recreation and Park Association reports that with 560 million meals per years, parks and recreation organizations are the second largest food provider for children behind schools.
Ensuring community youth have a healthy outlet for their creativity and energy is an important step towards long-term community improvement. Discipline, self-esteem, and leadership are all qualities that are fostered in youth-focused programs.
Recreation Centers Provide an Opportunity for Education
For little to no charge, recreation centers provide a place for children to extend their learning beyond the class room. Programs like the ones organized by Orlando’s department of Families, Parks and Recreation provide kids with help with homework, tutoring for standardized testing, and a variety of activities, including music classes and book clubs.
Educational opportunities are not limited to children. Adult learners can also benefit from a strong recreation center that provides programs for learning or enhancing a skill and provides critical services such as job training or resume review.
Recreation Centers Promote an Active and Healthy Community
Maintaining an active lifestyle is foundational to a happy and healthy life. In fact, a recent survey showed that adults under 65 years-old who exercise regularly save $1,230 in medical costs annually.
Fortunately, community recreation centers don’t solely cater to young people. Walking clubs, fitness programs, athletic opportunities, arts and crafts classes, and various cultural activities are made available to those of all ages by community centers and partner civic organizations. A recreation facility helps to develop a culture of physical wellbeing, mental health, and nutritional education. With intelligent programming and effective community outreach, a community recreation center can be a central component to enact change at the community level.
Recreation Centers Increase Property Values
By providing a popular destination for cultural, social, fitness and athletic activities, efficiently operated recreation centers make the communities that surround them more attractive. A study of 16,000 home sales in Portland, Ore showed an 8-20 percent increase in property value when the home was 1,500 feet or less from a public park. These property values can lead to increases in tax revenues for the local communities. In Philadelphia, the parks and recreation department helped garner $18.1 million in tax revenues due to increased property values and $5.2 million in tax receipts from tourism spending, according to a report by The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence for the Philadelphia Parks Alliance.
SFA & SFM Developes Great Community Recreation Centers
Great recreation centers can be the piece that makes great communities whole. They provide a place where devoted coaches, teachers and staff members create an environment of growth and learning for young people. A community recreation center can foster community pride and bring people together. It can also provide opportunities for interaction, inclusivity, and community learning as well as contribute to economic development.
Sports Facilities Advisory provides community-wide needs assessments, feasibility studies, comprehensive market analysis, as well as operational and budget reviews for existing centers. Recreation centers can only serve their communities if they have the proper support, and it is the mission of Sports Facilities Management to guarantee they have that support at every possible level. From development and training programs to human resource support, the SFM team utilizes a full team of industry experts.
The SFA & SFM team can help you realize these benefits and more from your community recreation center. To learn how, contact us today or call us at (727) 474-3845.