January 25, 2022

Three Tips for Updating and Activating a Local Park

Community parks are among the most popular destinations for families. The National Recreation and Park Association revealed people visit local parks and playgrounds an average of 29 times per year. But as the saying goes, familiarity can breed contempt, and parks are no exception!

To keep people visiting your parks, you should schedule upgrades regularly. Community park updates do not have to be a hefty investment of your time or money. This article will explore our top three easy tips for updating and activating a local park.

Add Park Programming and Special Events

One way to reignite people's interest in your community park is to increase the number of supervised activities offered. According to a study done by the NRPA in collaboration with the RAND Corporation, “For every additional supervised activity, park use tended to increase by an average of nearly 50 percent and physical activity by 37 percent.” 

Here are some of our favorite easy activities to program in your community park:

  • Morning yoga classes
  • Art classes
  • Music concerts and other performances
  • Neighborhood picnics
  • Educational events

Encourage and Support Physical Activity

Our second tip for updating your park is to install some new park amenities. According to NRPA, “sedentary activities, such as sitting on a park bench or resting on the lawn, accounted for about 60 percent of all activities observed in the parks.” If you feel that this statistic applies to your park, it might be time to invest in park amenities that get people moving.  

The NRPA says the facilities that generate the most physical activity are walking paths and gymnasiums, followed by outdoor fitness equipment and exercise areas. If you don’t already have one or more of these installed at your park, this is a good opportunity to see increased park attendance and physical activity.  

Create a Diverse and Inclusive Park Experience

Our most important tip to update your community park is to make sure it is inclusive. 

The first method to making your park more inclusive is to make sure you have park amenities and playground equipment that appeal to both sexes. According to NRPA, gender disparity increases among teenagers, with females only accounting for 32% of teenage physical activity.

The reason this gender disparity occurs is the lack of offerings that appeal to women. If most of the offered amenities are male-oriented, some women might be uncomfortable participating. It’s essential to create supervised activities that provide a safe space for women to be active.

There is also a disparity among age groups who use parks. NRPA states that children and teens comprise 51% of park users, while only being 27% of the total U.S. population. In contrast, senior citizens comprise 16% of the population and only 4% of regular park users.

Senior citizens need the benefits provided by parks as much as children and teens do. A regular workout could reduce many health conditions endemic to this demographic. 

A lack of time is among the many barriers people cite as reasons they do not exercise. However, time is usually not a barrier for the aging population to go outside and get a workout. Many of our retired senior citizens seek personal and social activities. The way to bring this population outside is by providing park amenities and outdoor fitness equipment that is useful to them. 

GameTime’s GTfit outdoor fitness products are a great way to provide outdoor fitness equipment that meets older adults in their fitness journey. This segment of the population also loves taking a morning or afternoon stroll down a walking path.

The last way to assure inclusivity is to make sure your playground equipment is accessible to everybody, regardless of age or ability. Installing even one inclusive offering such as the GT Wave, the first inclusive playground net, is a great way to create play for all and encourage families to visit your park.

Keep Things Fresh and Fun

There are many fun ways to update your community park. One way is adding programming and supervised events. Another way is adding park and playground amenities that encourage people of all ages to stay active. You can invest in more inclusive equipment to ensure everyone has opportunities available to them regardless of sex, age, or physical abilities. 

The vital thing to consider is each park and community is unique and requires different updates. Tap into your community to discover which of our tips is most applicable to your park needs. 

For more help in planning park updates, contact a GameTime representative today.