2013 Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Needs Assessment Findings Are In!

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For Immediate Release: December 4, 2013 

2013 Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Needs Assessment Findings Are In!

The City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities conducted a citywide Needs Assessment survey during Summer/Fall 2013. The purpose of the survey was to establish priorities for the future development of Alexandria’s parks, recreation, cultural facilities, programs and services based on identified community needs. The City of Alexandria, with a consultant, Leisure Vision, designed and administered the survey to obtain statistically valid results from households and to benchmark findings against the 2011 Needs Assessment results.

The Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities conducts a short-version survey (2013) every other year and a long-version survey (2011) every five years in order to assess change in residents' needs over time and strategically plan the future park and recreation system.

Significant Findings include:

  • Visitation of Parks. Eighty-two percent (82%) of respondents visited the City of Alexandria Parks within the past 12 months. This is higher than the national benchmark of seventy-eight percent (78%). Of those, eighty-two percent (82%) of respondents who visited the parks, twenty-three percent (23%) of respondents rated the parks as being in “excellent” condition. Other condition ratings include: Sixty-one percent (61%) “good,” fifteen percent (15%) “fair,” and only one percent (1%) rated the condition of the parks as “poor.”
  • Participation in Recreation or Cultural Programs or Special Events. Forty-eight percent (48%) of respondents said that they have participated in the City of Alexandria programs or activities within the past 12 months, which reflects a 2% increase since the 2011 needs assessment. City of Alexandria respondent participation in programs at forty-eight percent (48%) is significantly higher (by a margin of 18%) than that of the national average at thirty percent (30%).
  • Need for Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Facilities. Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents (representing 54,874 households) have a need for “walking trails.” Other similar needs include: Natural areas and wildlife habitats (67% representing 45,887 households), biking trails (53% representing 36,015 households) and indoor exercise and fitness facilities (52%; representing 35,062 households). Based on the sum of respondents with a need for facilities, sixty-seven percent (67%) of respondents with a need for “walking trails” has a rate of 75% or more of their needs being met. Respondents whose needs for facilities are being met 50% or less include: natural areas (representing 21,200 households), indoor exercise and fitness facilities (representing 21,143 households) and indoor swimming pools (representing 19,286 households).
  • Need for Recreation and Cultural Programs. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of respondents (representing 52,083 households) state they have a need for Farmer’s Market programs. Other household needs include: Cultural special events, i.e. concerts, movies (59% representing 39,964 households), adult fitness and wellness programs (44% representing 29,820 households) and outdoor public art (42% representing 28,594 households). Respondents’ unmet needs for programs only being met around 50% or less include: Adult fitness and wellness programs (representing 20,188 households), adult continuing education programs (representing 18,991 households), outdoor public art (representing 18,186 households), cultural special events (representing 17,904 households) and natural programs and environmental education (representing 17,336 households).
  • Actions Household are Most Willing to Support with Tax Dollars. Based on the sum of respondents’ top four choices, forty-eight percent (48%) of respondents said that they would be most willing to fund the improvement of trails that connect parks, which is the highest response of all choices. Other actions respondents are willing to fund with their tax dollars include: purchase land to preserve natural areas (41%), develop new trails that connect parks (40%) and improve existing passive use neighborhood parks (31%).

Visit www.alexandriava.gov/Recreation  to view the full results.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the City’s Human Rights Code and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation or to request materials in an alternative format, contact Dana Wedeles at 703.746.5590 (Virginia Relay 711) or e-mail dana.wedeles@alexandriava.gov.