For Immediate Release: September 15, 2011
2011 Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Needs Assessment Findings Are In!
The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities conducted a Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment Survey during May and June of 2011. The purpose of the survey was to establish priorities for the future development of parks, recreation, cultural facilities, programs and services within your community. The survey was administered by a consultant, Leisure Vision, through a combination of mail and phone and was designed to obtain statistically valid results from households throughout the City of Alexandria. Leisure Vision worked extensively with the City of Alexandria officials in the development of the survey questionnaire. This work allowed the survey to be tailored to issues of strategic importance to effectively plan the future system.
Major findings include:
- Visitation of Parks. Eighty-five percent (85%) of households indicated that they have visited any of the City of Alexandria parks during the past year. This is considerably higher than the national benchmark of seventy-two percent (72%). Of the 85% of households that have visited a park, 86% rated the physical condition of all the city parks visited as either “excellent” (23 %) or “good” (63%). The remaining households rated the parks as follows: “fair” (13%) and “poor” (1%).
- Participation in Recreation or Cultural Programs or Special Events. Forty-six percent (46%) of respondent households indicated that they had participated in any recreation or cultural programs or special events offered by the City of Alexandria during the past 12 months. This is considerably higher than the national benchmark of thirty percent (30%). Of the 46% of respondent households that indicated that they have participated in any recreation or cultural programs or special events, 90% indicated that they would rate the overall quality of the recreation or cultural programs or special events their household has participated in as either “excellent” (30%) or “good” (60%). Of the remaining respondent households, 9% rated them as “fair” and only 1% rated them as “poor”.
- Need for Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Amenities. There are five parks, recreation, and cultural amenities that over 55% of households have a need for: walking trails (84%), natural areas and wildlife habitats (67%), biking trails (62%), picnic shelters/areas (57%), and indoor exercise and fitness facilities (55%).
- Most Important Parks, Recreation and Cultural Amenities. Based on the sum of their top four choices, the parks, recreation, and cultural amenities that households rated as the most important are: walking trails (57%), biking trails (34%), and natural areas and wildlife habitats (30%). Playgrounds were the top priority for households with children under 10; walking and biking trail were the top priority for households with children 10-19 (soccer/lacrosse fields were a close 2nd priority); walking and biking trails were the top priority for empty nester households.
- Need for Recreation and Cultural Programs. The recreation and cultural programs that the highest percentage of households have a need for include: farmers’ markets (84%) and cultural special events (61%).
- Most Important Recreation and Cultural Programs. Based on the sum of their top four choices, the recreation and cultural programs that households rated as the most important include: farmers’ market (59%) and cultural special events (37%). Learn to swim programs were the top priority for households with children under 10; youth athletic programs were the top priority in households with children 10-19; farmer’s markets were the top priority in empty nester households.
For additional information, and to view the final report, visit www.alexandriava.gov/recreation.