Douglasville Parks & Recreation "Stacks Up" In National Survey
Earlier this year, the Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department submitted its Agency Performance Survey data to the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Park Metrics database. This database allows parks and recreation agencies in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries to build customized reports based on their own unique characteristics. Those reports are then submitted to the NRPA, who analyzes the data and publishes a detailed report.
“This report is used as a benchmark to see how we measure against other agencies in the region and across the country,” Parks and Recreation Director Travis Landrum explained. “We get an excellent picture of what our strengths are, but also, more importantly, what areas we need to improve upon.”
The report details five main metrics to evaluate parks and recreation agencies by measuring their funding, revenues, and overall acreage of parkland. The Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department placed well above the median in four of the five main metrics and finished very close to the median of the fifth metric.
Data from the Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department were submitted and included information from the seven parks it operates and one non-park site, West Pines Golf Course. Those eight locations encompass 381 total acres of land.
Are the Parks Adequately Funded?
Two metrics are used to determine whether an agency is adequately funded. First, the park operating expenditures per acre of land is calculated. This takes the costs to provide parks and recreation services to the community and divides it by the total acres of land that the department operates. It found that Douglasville spends $6,598 per acre of land, which exceeds the median ($3,342) and upper quartile ($6,408) of all agencies surveyed.
Second, those same operating expenditures are divided by the population of the community. This provides the operating expenditures per capita. THE NRPA’s analysis found that Douglasville spends approximately $109.51 per resident on its parks and recreation operations. This exceeds the median ($81.19) of all agencies surveyed as well. This shows that in both metrics, the City of Douglasville is more than adequately funded when compared to all agencies that participated in the survey.
Is there enough Parkland in Douglasville?
The Agency Performance Survey also uses the total acreage of parkland per 1,000 population as a way of determining whether a community has “enough” parkland. It does acknowledge that there is no standard for sufficient park acreage a community should have. It points to a community’s history, culture, demographics, density, development factors, and access to land as some of the reasons for this.
The study found that Douglasville currently has 7.1 acres per 1,000 population, which falls a bit short of the median (9.9) of all other agencies.
“We have Douglas County Parks in our area as well as Sweetwater Creek State Park. Those parks are widely used by our community, but we can’t capture those parks in our data” Landrum explained. “So, it really comes as no surprise that we didn’t quite meet the median in this area.”
Do the Parks Generate Revenue?
Like the funding metrics, there are two main ways in which the NRPA determines revenue for parks and recreation agencies. The first measure is revenue per capita. This divides the amount of annual revenue from the last fiscal year by the total population.
The survey data reports that Douglasville spends $39.57 per resident. This is almost halfway between the median ($20.93) and upper quartile ($50.27) of all respondents.
Finally, the survey calculated the cost recovery of each agency. This is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated by the total expenditures. It was found that the Douglasville Parks and Recreation System recovers approximately 36.1% of its costs. That was over 10 points higher than the median (25.9%).
“We are pleased with the report’s findings,” Landrum went on. “The Douglasville Parks and Recreation Department remains committed to providing the best services possible to our residents and visitors. We think next year’s numbers will be even better as we continue to improve our parks inventory and recreation activities.”
Access the entire NRPA report in the reader below. Additional parks and recreation information can also be found on the Douglasville Parks and Recreation Facebook group.