Corona Insights recently finished conducting a park master plan survey for Pioneer Park in Billings, Montana. This survey was the first step in a larger Master Planning process the City is undertaking to help the Billings Parks and Recreation Department determine how to manage, maintain and strategically allocate park resources at Pioneer Park to best meet the future needs of Billings’ residents.
Corona Insights and the City of Billings Parks and Recreation Department custom created the survey to answer 4 major questions from the research:
- City of Billings residents’ perceived recreation needs regarding Pioneer Park;
- To assess the residents’ preferences for the strategic allocation of Pioneer Park resources;
- To examine priorities for current and future park maintenance levels; and
- To gauge current usage levels at Pioneer Park.
Resident attitudes towards disc golf were also examined throughout the survey.
Through the findings park officials were able to determine how a majority of residents preferred to proceed with regards to disc golf, dog regulations, and future maintenance needs within the park. Findings also indicated Billings residents had more favorable than unfavorable views towards disc golf and respondents most frequently felt disc golf should remain as an activity within the park, but should be redesigned in some fashion. Development of off-street parking was the most commonly perceived future need at the park among respondents and respondents most frequently indicated they preferred Pioneer Park to be an active, highly used park with little built-in equipment and lots of open space.
We thoroughly enjoyed working with the City of Billings on this project and were glad to assist them with this community input portion of the larger master plan project.
Corona has worked with many parks and rec departments answer their important questions regarding their parks and planning. Contact Corona to learn how we can help you do the same.
Earlier this year we learned (another more recent article here) that the Arizona State Parks Board voted to close over half of the state parks in the State, in order to help the state government alleviate its current budgetary problems. This announcement and the state’s plan to close 13 state parks appear to be a bold move to save the state budgetary obligations to the Arizona State Parks System. However, it could end up costing local municipalities within Arizona in the long run.
Corona Insights recently conducted an extensive marketing assessment study for Colorado State Parks, and one major component of that study was a detailed Visitor Spending Analysis that examined the spending habits of visitors to Colorado State parks. The goal of this visitor spending analysis was to calculate the direct spending in local economies (within 50 miles) related to visits to each Colorado State Park.
Total visitor expenditures for each park were prepared by calculating per-vehicle visitor expenditures from raw data that was collected via a large park-specific visitor survey (conducted as part of the overall marketing assessment study). These per-visitor figures were then multiplied by the total numbers of visitors visiting each park in one year, defined as the June 2008 to May 2009 time period. In developing the final visitor spending estimates for the study, Corona took a conservative approach and included only the spending by visitors arriving from more than 50 miles away in our final visitor spending calculations.
Total estimated spending impacts on local economies (within 50 miles of state parks) were sizeable. Overall, average per vehicle expenditures within 50 miles of Colorado State Parks (for non-local visitors) was estimated to be roughly $230, and total non-local expenditures for Colorado State Parks (over a one-year period) were an impressive $396 million.
Spending patterns and average expenditures per vehicle would likely differ somewhat for Arizona State Parks since every park and every park system is unique, but the overall economic effect of shutting down these 13 state parks will likely produce a rather substantial negative economic impact to communities in close proximity to these parks.
Not only are the cities and municipalities in close proximity to these 13 state parks losing a valuable natural resource, their local economies are likely to feel the economic effects of these park closures for the foreseeable future.
Many local Arizona communities apparently also know this and are contributing to keep the parks open, at least until a more permanent solution can be developed.
While these particular stories all regard Arizona, they’re not alone. Many states facing budget shortfalls are considering closing parks – or already have done so. We hope that they have the right information to make their decisions before doing so (and if they don’t and happen to be reading this – we can help).