Text Box:

 

                                        County of Albemarle

Community Recreational Facilities  

Needs Assessment Study

 

Phase I

 

With

 

Leisure Vision

 

November 11, 2003


                                                                                           
Completed By:

 

                                                                   Ken Ballard, President

                                                                   Ballard*King and Associates

                                                                   2743 E. Ravenhill Cir.

                                                                   Highlands Ranch, CO  80126

                                                                   Phone: (303) 470-8661

                                                                   Fax: (303) 470-8642
 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Section            I           Demographic Analysis........................................................ 1

 

Section            II         Recreation Activities Participation ................................... 9

                       

Section            III        Albemarle Parks and Recreation Assessment................ 20

 

Section            IV        Other Service Providers Assessment.............................. 28

 

Section            V         Citizen Input Summary..................................................... 32

 

Section            VI        Partnership Analysis......................................................... 52

 

Section            VII      Phase I Summary and Conclusions.................................. 56

 

 

Section I - Demographic Analysis

 

To provide a foundation for determining future demands for recreational facilities for the County of Albemarle, Virginia a demographic analysis for the county has been undertaken.

 

The following is a summary of the basic demographic characteristics of the County of Albemarle as well as the City of Charlottesville and a comparison with national demographic statistics. 

 

County of Albemarle and the City of Charlottesville:  The primary market for any recreation facilities would clearly be the residents of the County of Albemarle.  However, the fact that the city of Charlottesville sits in the middle of the county and the past partnerships between the two governmental entities to provide recreation facilities and programs suggests that their demographic characteristics need to be examined as well.  The County of Albemarle occupies approximately 726 square miles (465,040 acres) in the Northern Blue Ridge and Northern Piedmont of Virginia.  The county’s major urban areas include the development areas around Charlottesville, Scottsville and Crozet, but about 690 square miles are rural areas. 

 

Population Numbers: 

 

                                                2000 Census    2003 Est.         2008 Proj.

 

County of Albemarle                     84,186            88,831             96,915

 

City of Charlottesville                    40,009           40,317            41,176

 

Total                                          124,195         129,148          138,091

 

 

Source - U.S. Census Bureau, ESRI and County of Albemarle. 

 

The demographic statistics for the County of Albemarle will be analyzed for this study with references to the City of Charlottesville.

 

Population Distribution by Age:  Utilizing census information from the County of Albemarle the following comparisons are possible.

 

Albemarle - from 2003 ESRI census estimate

 

Table- A

Ages              Pop.        % of Tot.         Nat. Pop.                 Diff.

 

      -5            5,241                5.9%                6.7%                -.8%

 

  5-17          15,812              17.8%              18.3%                -.5%

 

18-24            7,106                8.0%              10.2%              -2.2%

 

25-44          25,494              28.7%              28.8%                -.1%

 

45-54          14,213              16.0%              14.1%              +1.9%

 

55-64            9,238              10.4%                9.5%                +.9%

 

    65+         11,726              13.2%              12.4%                +.8%

 

  Population- 2003 census estimate in the different age groups in the county.

 

  % of Total- Percentage of the service area population in the age group.

 

  National Population- Percentage of the national population in the age group.

 

  Difference- Percentage difference between the county population and the

                      national population.

 

 

Chart- A

The demographic makeup of the County of Albemarle, when compared to the characteristics of the national population, indicates that there is a larger middle aged adult and senior population and a slightly smaller youth, young adult and adult population.

 

When the characteristics of the City of Charlottesville are compared there are radical differences with a much smaller youth, adult, and senior population and a much higher 18-24 age group.  These traits reflect the presence of the University of Virginia and their approximate 18,000 students.  

 

Population Distribution Comparison by Age:  Utilizing census information from County of Albemarle, the following comparisons are possible.

 

County of Albemarle - from census information and ESRI.

 

Table- B

Ages    2000 Pop.        2003 Pop.        2008 Pop.      % Change

 

      -5            5,220               5,241               5,524              +5.8%

 

  5-17          15,659             15,812             16,379              +4.6%

 

18-24            6,146               7,106               8,625            +40.3%

 

25-44          26,013             25,494             24,907              -4.3%

 

45-54          12,796             14,213             15,894            +24.2%

 

55-64            7,745               9,238             12,017            +55.2%

 

    65+         10,607             11,726             13,568            +27.9%

 

Chart- B

 

Table-B looks at the growth or decline in age group numbers from the 2000 census until the year 2008.  It is projected that in all age groups there will be a significant increase in population with the exception of the 25-44 category that will show a slight decline.  The greatest growth is projected to occur in the 55-64, 18-24, and 65+ age categories.   However, it must be remembered that the population of the United States as a whole is aging and it is common to find negative growth numbers in the younger age groups and net gains nearing 20% in the 45 plus age groupings in communities with more stable population bases.  With this in mind the projections for Albemarle are especially strong in the young adult and youth categories.  Again the presence of the University of Virginia may explain the anticipated large jump in the college age category.

 

Once again the statistics for the City of Charlottesville were reviewed and there are a number of differences.  The population has a whole in the city is only expected to grow slightly in the next five years and most of the age categories are actually projecting a decline (-5, 5-17, 25-44, and 65+). The only age categories expecting an increase are in the college student age group and the middle aged adult.  Except for the 18-24 age category this scenario more closely mirrors the national numbers.     

 

Next, the median age and household income levels are compared with the national numbers.  Both of these factors are primary determiners of participation in sports and recreation activities (see Table-C).  The lower the median age the higher the participation rates are for most activities.  The level of participation also increases as the income level goes up.   

 

Median Age:

 

                                  2000 Census         2003 Est.        2008 Proj.

 

County of Albemarle                37.3                 38.6                 40.4

 

City of Charlottesville               25.7                 25.5                 25.0

 

Nationally                                35.3                 36.0                 37.1                             

 

Chart- C                                                        

 

While the median age is close to the national numbers in the county, the city due to the number of university students is well below the national median age. 

 

Median Household Income:

 

                                  2000 Census         2003 Est.        2008 Proj.

 

County of Albemarle          $50,792           $58,862           $72,847

 

City of Charlottesville         $31,002           $35,100           $42,238

 

Nationally                          $42,164           $46,615           $54,319


 

Chart- D

 

The median household income level must be balanced against the cost of living for the area to determine possible discretionary income available for recreation purposes.  With the income levels for the county significantly above the national levels and despite the relatively high cost of living (compared to other areas of the United States) there is still a potential for a reasonably high level of discretionary income for recreation purposes.  The city has a considerably lower median household income level but this is due to presence of the large UVA student population.

 

Ethnicity:

 

County of Albemarle- 2000 Census – 84,186

 

Table- C

Race                                      Pop.        % of Tot.

 

 White                                 70,379              83.6%

 

 Black/African Amer.             8,166                9.7%

 

 Asian                                    2,441                2.9%

 

 Hispanic/Latino                     2,189                2.6%

 

 Amer. Indian/Alaska                168                  .2%

 

 Other                                   1,010                1.2%

 

 

Note: Totals above do not equal 100% as some individuals are in more than one race category.

 

 

Urban vs. Rural:  There is a noticeable division in the county between the more developed portion of the county (around the City of Charlottesville and areas extending north and west) and the balance which is more rural.    

 

County of Albemarle- Changes in urban and rural population (2000 figures are based on a total population estimate of 81,242)

 

Table- D

Year                             Dev. Area      Rural Area               Total

 

 1990                                  28,032             38,943             66,975                 

 

 1993                                  30,834             37,443             68,277

 

 1994                                  32,714             37,443             71,052

 

 1996                                  33,063             41,109             74,172

 

 1997                                  34,220             42,187             76,407

 

 1998                                  35,273             42,310             77,583

 

 1999                                  36,400             42,769             79,169

 

 2000                                  37,625             43,617             81,242

 

 

This table indicates that in the year 2000 almost 54% of the county’s population is located in the rural areas of the county (note these figures do not match up with the overall projections for total population in the county as they were taken from different sources).

 

Other demographic characteristics for the urban region of the county were also compared with the more rural areas.  Key findings include:   

 

Ethnicity:  The urban areas of the county have a higher percentage of minorities than the more rural areas.  The more rural southern portion of the county is the most ethnically diverse while the northwest area is the least.

 

Age Distribution:  With the influence of the University of Virginia, the urban areas of the county have a higher percentage of the population in the young adult (18-24) and adult (25-44) age categories and a lower middle aged (45-64) population.  Within the rural areas of the county there are larger youth numbers (5-17) and middle aged residents with lower young adult and adult numbers.  When specific rural areas are analyzed there is general uniformity across all regions with very little variance.

 

Median Household Income:  The urban area has a significantly lower median household income than the rural areas of the county.  Again the influence of the University of Virginia is probably at least partially responsible for this fact.  Further breakdown of the rural areas indicates that the northwest area has the highest income while the southern portion has the lowest.  

 

 

Demographic Summary:

 

·        The population level of the County of Albemarle is expected to show strong growth during the 2000’s. 

 

·        The population density is medium to low.

 

·        The median age is slightly above the national numbers.

 

·        Household size is slightly higher than the national average.

 

·        Median household income is significantly higher than the national levels.

 

·        The predominate race is White with Blacks, Asians and Hispanics making up the balance.

 

·        The demographics for the City of Charlottesville are somewhat different from the county with relatively slow growth, a younger median age, and lower median household income level.  However the presence of the University of Virginia explains these factors.  

 

·        The urban areas of the county have a younger more ethnically diverse population with lower incomes when compared to the rural regions.

 

Return to Table of Contents

 

Section II – Recreation Activities Participation

 

It is beneficial to examine rates of participation in a variety of sports, recreation and cultural arts activities to determine the relative strength of the market for certain recreation activities.  Each year, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) conducts a rather in depth study of how Americans spend their leisure time and this information has been utilized to determine possible participation numbers.  In addition a study that was commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1997 was also referenced to determine possible participation levels in a variety of cultural arts activities.  While not as comprehensive as the NSGA study the NEA information is still of value in the planning process. 

 

Comparison With National Statistics:  Utilizing information from the National Sporting Goods Association and comparing them with the demographics from the County of Albemarle the following participation projections can be made (statistics were compared based on age, household income, regional population and national population).

 

Participation Estimates County of Albemarle from the National Sporting Goods Association (based on 2003 population estimates) for sports activities.

 

 

Table- E

                        Income       Age (avg.)            Region             Nation          Average

Aerobics             9.9%                9.4%                9.8%                9.7%                9.7%

Baseball             7.4%                5.6%                4.8%                5.9%                5.9%

Basketball        11.9%              10.6%              10.7%              11.2%              11.1%

Bike Riding      17.5%              15.1%              14.1%              15.5%              15.6%

Canoeing            3.2%                2.6%                2.9%                2.7%                2.9%

Exer/equip        19.9%              16.9%              16.7%              17.1%              17.7%

Exer. Walk       30.0%              28.7%              29.8%              28.3%              29.2%

Figure Skating   2.9%                2.0%                1.6%                2.1%                2.2%

Fishing              18.5%              15.3%              12.6%              15.6%              15.5%

Football              4.0%                3.2%                3.1%                3.4%                3.4%

Ice Hockey         1.0%                  .8%                  .3%                  .9%                  .8%

Martial Arts       2.3%                1.9%                1.8%                2.0%                2.0%

Mtn. Biking        2.4%                2.4%                2.2%                2.5%                2.4%

Racquetball          .9%                1.3%                1.2%                1.3%                1.2%

Roller Hockey   1.2%                  .9%                  .5%                  .9%                  .9%

Running/jog      10.1%                9.3%                9.9%                9.8%                9.8%

Skateboarding    4.5%                3.6%                3.5%                3.8%                3.9%

Soccer                 6.8%                5.2%                4.8%                5.5%                5.6%

Softball               6.9%                5.0%                3.9%                5.3%                5.3%

Swimming         25.7%              21.3%              22.8%              21.8%              22.9%

Tennis                 4.5%                4.2%                5.2%                4.3%                4.6%

Volleyball           5.0%                4.5%                3.9%                4.8%                4.6%

Workout Club  11.5%              10.3%              11.0%              10.5%              10.8%

 

  Income- Participation based on the 2003 estimated median household income in the county.

 

  Age (avg.)- Participation based on averaging participation by different age groups in the county.

 

  Region- Participation based on regional statistics (South Atlantic , U.S.).

 

  Nation- Participation based on national statistics.

 

  Average- Participation based on the average of the other four categories.

 

When looking at participation rates in various recreation activities, the National Sporting Goods Association uses four different determiners for their percentages.  Utilizing the average of these four categories takes into consideration each of the factors that can influence participation rates.  

 

Anticipated Participation Numbers by Activity: Utilizing the average percentage from Table- E above plus the 2000 census information and census estimates for 2003 and 2008 (over age 5).

 

Table- F

                      Average       2000 Part.       2003 Part.       2008 Part.      Difference

 

Aerobics             9.7%               7,660               8,108               8,865               1,205

Baseball             5.9%               4,659               4,932               5,392                  733

Basketball        11.1%               8,765               9,278             10,144               1,379

Bike Riding      15.6%             12,319             13,040             14,257               1,938

Canoeing            2.9%               2,290               2,424               2,650                  360

Exer/equip        17.7%             13,977             14,795             16,176               2,199

Exer. Walk       29.2%             23,058             24,408             26,686               3,628

Figure Skating   2.2%               1,737               1,839               2,011                  274

Fishing              15.5%             12,240             12,956             14,166               1,926

Football              3.4%               2,685               2,842               3,107                  422

Ice Hockey           .8%                  632                  669                  731                    99

Martial Arts       2.0%              1,579               1,672               1,828                  249

Mtn. Biking        2.4%               1,895               2,006               2,193                  298

Racquetball        1.2%                  948               1,003               1,097                  149

Roller Hockey     .9%                  711                  752                  823                  112

Running/Jog       9.8%               7,739               8,192               8,956               1,217

Skateboarding    3.9%               3,080               3,260               3,564                  484

Soccer                 5.6%               4,422               4,681               5,118                  696

Softball               5.3%               4,185               4,430               4,844                  659

Swimming         22.9%             18,083             19,142             20,929               2,846

Tennis                 4.6%               3,632               3,845               4,204                  572

Volleyball           4.6%               3,632               3,845               4,204                  572

Workout Club  10.8%               8,528               9,028               9,870               1,342

 

 

Note: The estimated participation numbers indicated above are for each of the sports listed and do not necessarily translate into expected attendance figures at any Albemarle recreation facility since many participants utilize other facilities for these activities and may participate in more than one activity at a time.  However, these figures do indicate the total number of people participating in various sports activities within the county.

 

Summary of Sports Participation:  The following chart summarizes participation in various sports and leisure activities utilizing information from the 2001 National Sporting Goods Association survey.

 

Table- G- National

Sport                  Rank           % Part.      Age Group

Exer. Walk                 1              29.2%             45 - 54

Swimming                   2              22.9%               7 - 11

Fishing                        4              15.5%               7 - 11

Exer/equip                  5              17.7%             25 - 34

Bike Riding                 7              15.6%               7 - 11

Basketball                  9              11.1%             12 - 17

Workout Club*     N/A              10.8%             18 - 24

Running/jog              12                9.8%             12 - 17

Aerobics                  13                9.7%             25 - 34

Baseball                   20                5.9%               7 - 11

Soccer                     23                5.6%               7 - 11

Softball                     24                5.3%               7 - 11

Volleyball                 26                4.6%             12 - 17

Tennis                      28                4.6%             12 - 17

Skateboarding          29                3.9%               7 - 11

Football                    32                3.4%             12 - 17

Canoeing                  36                2.9%             12 - 17

Mtn. Biking              37                2.4%             12 - 17

Figure Skating          43                2.2%               7 - 11

Martial Arts              45                2.0%               7 - 11

Racquetball              53                1.2%             18 - 24

Roller Hockey          59                  .9%               7 - 11

Ice Hockey              60                  .8%             12 - 17

 

 

Rank - Popularity of sport based on national survey.

 

% Part. - Percent of population that would participate in this sport based on average percentage in Table E     above.

              

Age Group - The age group with the highest level of participation based on national survey.

 

* If Workout at Club were ranked it would be in the 11th spot.

 

Comparison of State Statistics with National Statistics:  Utilizing information from the National Sporting Goods Association, the following charts illustrate the participation numbers in selected sports in the state of Virginia.

 

Virginia participation numbers in selected sports - As reported by the National Sporting Goods Association in 2001.

 

Table- H- Virginia

Sport Participation                       Age Group        Largest #

(in thousands)

Exer. Walking                2088               45-54               35-44

Swimming                       1442                 7-11               35-44

Exer. w/Equipment         1217               25-34               35-44

Fishing                              970                 7-11               35-44

Bike Riding                      785                 7-11                 7-11

Running/Jogging              705               12-17               25-34

Aerobics                           698               25-34               25-34

Basketball                        641               12-17               12-17

Workout at Club              607               18-24               25-34

Tennis                               567               12-17               25-34

Soccer                               477                 7-11                 7-11

Skateboarding                  410                 7-11                 7-11

Baseball                            352                 7-11                 7-11

Volleyball                         334               12-17               12-17

Football                             296               12-17               12-17

Softball                             260                 7-11               25-34

Figure Skating                    90                 7-11                 7-11

 

Participation - The number of people (in thousands) in Virginia who participated more than once in the activity in 2001 and were at least 7 years of age.

 

Age Group - The age group in which the sport is most popular.  The age group where the highest percentage of the age span participates in the activity.  Example: The highest percent of an age group that participates in exercise walking is 45-54.  This is a national statistic.

 

Largest # - The age group with the highest number of participants.  Example: The greatest number of exercise walkers is in the 35-44 age group.  Note: This statistic is driven more by the sheer number of people in the age group than by the popularity of the sport in the age span. This is a national statistic.

 

When comparing these statistics to the national numbers in Table-G, there are considerable differences in the ranking of sports.  Fishing, basketball, workout at club, baseball, and softball are less popular and tennis and skateboarding are higher in popularity in the state of Virginia.  There are only state statistics for a limited number of activities, so statistics are not readily available for all sports listed in Table-F. 

 

Another method to measure sports participation statistics compares the percentage of the national population from the state with the percentage of national participation in a variety of sports.

 

Virginia sports percentage of participation compared with the population percentage of the United States -

 

Virginia’s population represents 2.7% of the population of the United States (based on 2000 census statistics).

 

Table- I- Virginia

Sport Participation Percentages

Tennis                                5.2

Skateboarding                   4.3

Soccer                                3.4

Football                              3.4

Running/Jogging               2.9

Aerobics                            2.9

Exer. Walking                   2.9

Exer. w/Equipment            2.8

Volleyball                          2.8

Swimming                          2.6

Fishing                               2.5

Baseball                             2.4

Basketball                         2.3

Workout at Club               2.3

Bike Riding                       2.0

Softball                              2.0

Figure Skating                   1.7

 

Note: Sport participant percentages refer to the total percent of the national population that participates in a sport that comes from the state of Virginia.  It is significant that in nine of the seventeen sports the percentage of participation is at or above the percentage of the national population. This is a relatively average rate of participation.

 

Recreation Activity and Facility Trends:  There continues to be very strong growth in the number of people participating in recreation and leisure activities. 

 

Below are listed a number of sports activities that could be served in parks and recreation facilities and the percentage of growth or decline that each has experienced nationally over the last 10 years (1991-2001).

 

Table- J- National

Sport/Activity                    1991 Part.       2001 Part.      % Change 

  Roller Hockey                               1.5                   2.2               +47%

  Soccer                                        10.0                 13.9               +39%

  Mtn. Biking                                   4.6                   6.3               +37%

  Ice Hockey                                   1.8                   2.2               +22%

  Skateboarding                               8.0                   9.6               +20%

  Exercising w/Equip.                     39.3                 43.0               +10%

  Running/Jogging                           22.5                 24.5                 +9%

  Basketball                                   26.2                 28.1                 +7%

  Exercise Walking                         69.6                 71.2                 +2%

  Aerobic Exercising                       25.9                 24.3                 -6% 

  Fishing                                         47.0                 44.4                 -6%

  Baseball                                      16.5                 14.9               -10%

  Swimming                                    66.2                 54.8               -17%

  Canoeing                                       8.7                   6.8               -22%

  Bike Riding                                  54.0                 39.0               -28%

  Fig. Skating                                   7.9                   5.3               -33%

  Softball                                        19.6                 13.2               -33%

  Tennis                                         16.7                 10.9               -35%

  Racquetball                                   6.3                   3.4               -46%   

  Volleyball                                    22.6                 12.0               -47%

                                   

 

1991 Participation - The number of participants per year in the activity (in millions) in the United States.

 

2001 Participation - The number of participants per year in the activity (in millions) in the United States.

 

Percent Change - The percent change in the level of participation from 1991 to 2001.

 

Non-Sports Participation Statistics:  It is recognized that most parks and recreation agencies focus on more than just sports oriented facilities.  Participation in a wide variety of passive activities and cultural pursuits is common and essential to a well-rounded center.

 

While there is not the breadth of information available for participation in these types of activities as compared to sports endeavors, there are statistics that can be utilized to help determine the market for cultural arts activities and events.  Beginning in 1982 and at selected intervals there after the National Endowment for the Arts has sponsored the “Survey of Public Participation in the Arts” to determine the extent to which Americans participate in the arts.  Information extracted from the 1997 survey indicates the following.

 

Personal Participation in the Arts

 

Individuals who had personally performed or created works in cultural arts activities in 1997 (at least once).

 

Table- K- National

Activity                         % of Adults                               # of Adults

 

Jazz                                        2.2%                                           4.3

 

Classical Music                      1.1%                                           2.2

 

Opera                                    1.8%                                           3.5

 

Musical Play                           7.7%                                         15.1

 

Play                                       2.7%                                         N/A

 

Ballet                                       .5%                                           1.0

 

Other Dance                        12.6%                                         24.6

 

Drawing/Painting                  15.9%                                         31.1                 

Writing                                 12.1%                                         23.7

 

Photography                         16.9%                                         32.6

 

Pottery                                 15.1%                                         29.5

 

Weaving                               27.6%                                         54.0

 

 

% of Adults – the percentage of adults (18 years and older) in the U.S. who participated in the activity at

                         least once during 1997.

 

# of Adults – the number of adults (in millions) in the U.S. who participated in the activity at least once

                       during 1997.

 

These statistics indicate a strong number of individuals who personally participate in certain cultural arts activities.  The different activity classifications are very broad and include a variety of specific events.

 

Participation in Arts Classes or Lessons

 

Individuals who participated in arts classes and lessons in 1997 (at least once).

 

Table- L- National

Activity                   % of Individuals        Less./Sch.      Less./Other                 Both

 

Music                                   26.5%              45.9%              34.9%              19.2%

 

Art                                       28.2%              74.3%              12.6%              13.0%

 

Acting                                  26.8%              77.0%              13.3%                9.7%

 

Ballet                                   21.5%                7.0%              89.3%                3.7%

 

Other Dance                        20.0%              23.0%              70.8%                6.3%

 

Creative Writing                   33.6%              88.9%                4.1%                7.0%

 

Art Appreciation                  22.1%              86.8%                7.4%                5.9%

 

Music Appreciation              22.7%              87.5%                7.6%                4.9%     

 

% of Individuals – the percentage of individuals (of any age) in the U.S. who took lessons in the activity

                                 at least once during 1997.

 

Less./Sch. – the percentage of those individuals in the U.S. who took lessons in the activity at school

                     during 1997.

 

Less./Other – the percentage of those individuals in the U.S. who took lessons in the activity at a location

                        other than a school during 1997.

 

Both – the percentage of those individuals in the U.S. who took lessons in the activity at both a school and

            other location during 1997.

 

This table indicates the percentage of people who took lessons in a variety of activities during 1997 and where these lessons were taken.  While the statistics in both tables K and L indicate strong rates of participation in cultural arts activities, a direct comparison between these numbers and the sports activities listed earlier is difficult.  The sports statistics are based on individuals who participated more than once in the activity while the cultural arts figures include even one time participation numbers. 

 

In an attempt to develop a more direct comparison between the rates of participation in various leisure activities, the NEA survey ranked the following activities.

 

Rates of Participation in Leisure Activities in 1997:

 

Table- M- National

Activity              Percentages

Watched TV                  96.0%

 

Exercised                       75.7%

 

Arts Activity                   66.6%

 

Home Improvements      65.9%

 

Went to Movies             65.5%

 

Gardening                      65.4%

 

Theme Park                   57.0%

 

Played a Sport               44.9%

 

Camped/Hiked/Canoe    44.3%

 

Attend Perform. Arts      42.2%

 

Attend Sport Event         41.2%

 

Percentages – refers to the percentage of the U.S. population that participated in the activity (at least once)

                        in 1997.

 

Chart E- National

 

In relationship to sports participation and other leisure activities, participation in cultural arts is very high.  More individuals participated in arts activities than went to a movie or played a sport.  In addition, more individuals attended a performing arts activity than went to a sports event.

 

Conclusion:  There are a variety of sports and cultural arts activities that have a reasonably high rate of participation within the county.  The rate of participation in most sports activities in Virginia is about average when compared with the rest of the country.  Cultural arts participation is strong and in most cases is equal to or even higher than sports participation.  Within most communities and counties these rates of participation translate into 20% to 30% of the population utilizing public recreation facilities and services on somewhat of a regular basis with up to 50% being involved in recreation on an at least occasional basis.

 

Return to Table of Contents

 

Section III – County of Albemarle Parks and Recreation Assessment

 

The County of Albemarle has been faced with the challenges of transitioning from a more rural county to one that is growing very quickly and changing (at least in certain areas) to a more developed and even urban environment.  This situation has been felt by the parks and recreation department in their efforts to provide services to an ever changing clientele.

 

Existing Facilities Listing:  The following is a listing of all of the county owned and partnership developed parks, natural areas, river access, community centers and greenways.

 

County Parks

            Beaver Creek                                       (219 acres, 104 water)

            Chris Greene                                        (239 acres, 53 water)

            Mint Springs                                         (520 acres, 8 water)

            Totier                                                   (209 acres, 69 water)

            Walnut Creek                                       (525 acres, 45 water)

            Whitewood                                          (25 acres)

            Simpson                                               (13 acres)

            Lane Baseball Field                              (3 acres)

 

Undeveloped County Lands

            Keene Property                                    (169 acres)

            Polo Grounds Property             (27 acres)

            Preddy Creek Property                        (571 acres)

            S. Fork Rivanna Reservoir                    (5 acres)

 

County/City Parks

Darden Towe                                       (113 acres)

            Ivy Creek Natural Area                        (215 acres)      

            Piedmont Virginia C.C. Softball Field  

 

Restrictive Covenant Partnerships

            Claudius Crozet                                    (22 acres)

            Dorrier                                                 (2 acres)

 

Community Centers

Greenwood Community Center (18 acres)

Meadows Community Center               (1 acre)

Scottsville Community Center   (3 acres)

 

County Maintained River Access Sites

 

            James River –

                        Howardsville

                        Hatton Ferry

                        Warren

                        Scottsville

 

            Rivanna River –

                        Milton

                        Towe

 

County Greenway Property

            Riverbend                                             (22.7 acres)

            River Run                                             (2.8 acres)

            Crozet Park                                          (2.2 acres)

 

Other

            Stony Point Ruritan Partnership

            Sugar Hollow Reservoir Property

            Ragged Mountain Reservoir Property & Trail

            Waldorf School           

 

Total County Park Facilities:  Below is an accounting of the major parks amenities that are part of the park resources listed above.

 

County Amenities

Number

Other

Swimming Beaches

3

 

Boat Ramps (lakes)

4

 

River Access

6

 

Accessible Fishing Pier

1

 

Picnic Shelters

12

 

Tot Lots

9

 

Swimming Pools

1

 

Baseball Fields (60’)

8

 

Adult Softball Fields

5

2 lighted

T-Ball Fields

1

 

Baseball Fields (90’)

3

1 lighted

Multipurpose Fields - Full

5

 

Multipurpose Fields – Jr.

3

 

Outdoor Basketball Courts

5

 

Tennis Courts

8

 

Gymnasiums

1

5,000 sq.ft.

Skating Rink/Dance Floor

1

 

Trail Miles

28.5

 

Spray Ground

1

 

Dog Park

1

 

 

In addition to the county parks system and those parks that have been developed with other entities the county schools also provide a significant number of indoor and outdoor recreation amenities that are available for use by residents of the area.

 

 

Summer Park Attendance – The following is the paid attendance at the three parks that charge for admittance to the beaches during the summer months.

 

County Park

2000

2001

2002

Chris Greene

15,992

14,583

16,020

Mint Springs

11,025

13,285

8,906

Walnut Creek

14,174

17,020

18,383

Total

41,191

44,888

43,309

 

Community Recreation Facilities on County School Grounds:  The following school facilities have amenities that are available for public recreation use and support the overall neighborhood concept of providing community services.

 

School

Acres

60’

Base

Full

Multi

Jr.

Multi

Gyms

Tot

Lots

BB Cts

Track

90’

Base

Tennis

Courts

Agnor –Hurt

19.5

1

1

0

1

3

2

0

0

0

Albemarle

11.5

0

3

0

2

0

1

1

1

8

Baker/Butler

52.5

1

1

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

Broadus

Wood

11.4

1

1

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

Brownsville

12.5

1

0

1

1

2

1

0

1

0

Burley

15.3

0

1

0

1

0

1

0

1

0

Cale

16

1

1

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

Crozet

21.1

1

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

Greer

8

1

0

1

1

3

2

0

0

0

Henley

50

0

2

0

1

0

2

0

0

0

Hollymead

25

2

1

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

Jack Jouett

40

2

2

0

1

0

1

0

0

2

M. Lewis

17.6

1

1

0

1

2

1

1

0

0

Monticello

107

1

3

3

1

0

0

1

1

8

Murray

20

1

0

1

1

2

2

0

0

0

Red Hill

11

0

1

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

Scottsville

15

1

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

Stone Robinson

21

1

1

0

1

3

1

0

0

0

Stony Point

11.6

1

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

0

Sutherland

16

0

0

1

1

0

1

0

1

2

Walton

50

0

1

1

1

0

1

1

1

2

W. Albemarle

75

2

4

0

2

0

0

1

0

6

Woodbrook

12

1

0

1

1

3

1

0

0

0

Yancey

7.2

0

1

0

1

2

1

0

0

0

Totals

749.7

20

25

14

26

36

26

5

6

28

 

Acres – represents the total number of acres in the school complex.

 

60’ Base – number of 60’ (base distance) baseball/softball fields.

 

Full Multi – number of full sized multipurpose fields (for soccer, football, etc.)

 

Jr. Multi – number of junior sized multipurpose fields (soccer, football, etc.)

 

Gyms – number of school gyms.

 

Tot Lots – number of outdoor tot playgrounds.

 

BB Cts. – number of outdoor basketball courts.

 

Track – number of outdoor tracks (440 or 400 meter tracks).

 

90’ Base – number of 90’ (base distance) baseball fields.  

 

Tennis Courts – number of outdoor tennis courts.

 

Recreation Program Participation:  Below are listed rates of participation and the growth for the last 3 to 5 years in a number of different program categories.

 

Field Sport Participation

 

Sport

1997

2002

Soccer

3,383

3,940

Adult Baseball

238

178

Jr. League Baseball

243

315

Little League Baseball

1,773

1,740

Girl’s Softball

225

230

Lacrosse

850

900

Football

500

826

Rugby

20

25

Ultimate Frisbee

0

100

Total

7,232

8,254

 

All of the field sports participation is by outside organizations using county facilities.  This represents a 14.1% growth in sports field participation in the last five years. 

 

Parks and Recreation Program Participation

 

Activity

2000

2001

2002

Middle Sch. Sports

447

546

678

Fee Based Programs

1,995

2,001

2,985

Adult Basketball

195

165

180

Summer Playgrounds

679

731

678

Total

3,316

3,443

4,521

 

Parks and recreation programs have grown by over 36% in the last two years.


Co-sponsored Parks and Recreation Program Participation

 

Activity

2000

2001

2002

City Softball

N/A

5,164

4,885

City Volleyball

N/A

1,939

1,545

McIntire Skate Park

N/A

14,672

8,128

Pepsi Mobile Tennis

N/A

545

564

Youth Basketball

N/A

1,800

2,268

City Therapeutic Rec.

624

756

818

Total

624

24,876

18,208

 

Most of the cosponsored programs are with the City of Charlottesville.  While there has been a substantial decline in participation in this area, the vast majority of the loss is attributable to the McIntire Skate Park.

 

Albemarle Parks and Recreation Strengths and Weaknesses Analysis:

 

The following is a basic strengths, weakness, and opportunities analysis for the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. 

 

Strengths

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Weaknesses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opportunities –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threats

 

·        Limited funding to both develop and maintain parks and recreation resources.

 

·        A very large county that has distinct rural and urban areas with different needs and expectations.

 

·        A wide variety of user groups to serve and often with several organizations in the same interest area.

 

·        Working within the limiting policies of the-

 

o       Dark Sky ordinance

o       Neighborhood concept

o       Limited development zones

 

·        A wide variety of organizations providing parks and recreation services with limited coordination between all groups.

 

·        Strong growth in overall field sport participation (over 14% in the last five years), has placed continued pressure on the number of fields available. 

 

·        Changing the girl’s high school basketball season to winter will place an increasing burden on already limited gymnasium space.

 

·        Lack of formalized agreements with user groups of county facilities.

 

·        Transportation for youth and seniors remains a key to encouraging further growth in participation for these age groups.

 

Return to Table of Contents

 

Section IV – Other Parks and Recreation Service Providers Assessment

 

In addition to the County of Albemarle there are also a large number of other providers in the county that are providing some form of parks and recreation services.

 

City of Charlottesville – Has an extensive parks and recreation system along more traditional lines.  The department also offers a full slate of recreation programs and services.

 

            Parks

McIntire

                        Greenbrier

                        Greenleaf

                        Northeast

                        Washington

                        Tonsler

                        Pen

                        Rothwell

                        Meade

                        Riverview

                        Fifeville

                        Belmont

                        Forest Hills

                        Rives

                        Quarry

                        Jordan

                        Azalea

                        Piedmont

                       

            Recreation Centers- 9 centers (small neighborhood centers)

                        Downtown Recreation Center- Armory – recently renovated

                        Tonsler Park

                        Carver Center

                        Crowe Center

                        Forest Hills Center

                        Garrett Square Center

                        South First Street

                        Washington Park Center

                        Westhaven Center

                       

Aquatic Centers- 2 indoor and 2 outdoor, indoor are conventional indoor 6 lane x 25 yard pools

                        Indoor

Crowe

                                    Smith

 

                        Outdoor

Washington Park

Onesty Pool

 

                        Wading Pools

                                    Forest Hills

                                    McIntire

 

            Skateboard Park- fenced and supervised area

 

            Golf Courses

                        McIntire

                        Meadowcreek

           

            Other

                        Ragged Mountain Reservoir Property

                        Sugar Hollow Reservoir Property

 

Albemarle County Schools - Have a large number of education and sports facilities (indoor and outdoor) that are available for community use as recreation facilities.  Beyond the county’s parks this is the primary location for recreation activities in the county.

 

YMCA – Does not have a facility but has done several studies for a possible center.  Hope to have full-service center in the next five years.  They currently run a number of programs including the youth basketball and soccer program and a swim team in the city’s pools.  

 

University of Virginia – Has four centers on campus plus a large number of fields.  There is very little utilization by the general public and the university does not market to non-affiliated individuals or groups.  Most all use is by students, faculty and staff but alumni do not have access to facilities.  They do have a strong summer camp program.

 

Boy’s & Girl’s Club – Does not currently have a facility of their own (utilizing space upstairs in the Smith Pool building) but are planning to build a 20,000 sq.ft. center next to Smith pool.  This would free up space for use by the city as a fitness center.   They run a teen center downtown as well as a small facility at the Southwood mobile home park. One of their primary sports programs is a travel league youth soccer league.

 

ACAC – The Atlantic Coast Athletic Club is the major private health club in the greater Charlottesville area.  They have two facilities including the main facility north of town that includes three aerobic studios, track, three pools, gym, large weight/CV area and a food service/pro-shop area.  The other is a much smaller fitness oriented facility downtown. Due to there presence in the community, the ACAC also provides facilities for general community use including local swim teams and other groups.

 

Churches – A significant number of churches have modest recreation facilities including gyms and other multi-purpose spaces.  Use is often restricted to church activities with limited use by outside groups or the general public.  As an example, the Covenant Church has a gym.

 

Soccer Organization Charlottesville-Albemarle (SOCA) – Owns and operates the South Fork Soccer Park that has five fields plus concessions building.  

 

Senior Center Inc. – This non-profit senior organization operates a large senior center in the northern Charlottesville area.  This facility has three multi-purpose rooms, library, travel office, gift shop, kitchen, crafts room, dance room, meeting rooms and computer room.  The center does rent out its rooms to other users.

 

Jefferson Area Board for Aging Senior Centers (JABA) – This senior organization provides services in a five county area (have four small centers in Albemarle County).  They operate eleven centers and provide adult day care services along with other senior services.

 

Martha Jefferson Hospital – The hospital currently provides cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services and has partnered with the ACAC at their facility for many of these services at their facility.  The hospital is building a new outpatient care building at the new hospital site and will consolidate their rehabilitation services at this location and leave the ACAC.

 

Piedmont Community College – Has two softball fields (the county paid for the lighting of these fields in exchange for second priority of use), a large multipurpose field area, four tennis courts, a cross country trail, a performing arts center and a small weight room.  The college also works closely with the city and exchanges field use for gym use.  They have no plans to build any new facilities in the coming years but would be interested in partnering to develop an indoor facility on their campus.    

 

Albemarle Community Education – Albemarle County Public Schools offer a variety of community education classes at their school facilities.  Programs include arts & crafts, cooking, music, computers, recreation, gardening, safety, personal growth and financial.

 

Independence Resource Center - This non-profit group for the disabled runs a wheel chair basketball team but currently does not have a recreation facility of their own.  They have plans to eventually build a facility.

 

Monticello – Included on the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s home is the 89 acre Kemper Park which was designed for recreational uses such as walking, jogging, biking, and bird watching.  Also included in the park is a one mile segment of the Saunders-Monticello Trail which is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and those in wheelchairs. 

 

Other –

 

Fairview Pool – A private membership outdoor pool (6 lane 25 yard pool) with a bubble that was purchased by the Virginia Gators swim team.  There is community use and the Western Albemarle High School swim team practices there.

 

Stony Point Ruritan – a private park that includes a baseball and soccer field.    

 

Panorama Farms Park – a private mountain biking park.

 

MACAA Gym – The Monticello Area Community Action Agency operates the old YMCA and their gym is utilized for activities such as indoor soccer.

 

Cove Creek Park – a private sports complex with softball and baseball fields.

 

Conclusion:  The relatively large number of other parks and recreation providers in the county is an indication of the fact that the demand for such services is very large and diverse requiring a variety of facilities and programs.  Even with these other providers, the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle’s parks and recreation department (along with the school’s facilities) are the primary providers of outdoor parks and recreation facilities.  In many cases the other providers are utilizing public facilities due to a lack of their own.  When indoor facilities are analyzed it is apparent that the county has very limited indoor facilities and the city, despite the seeming high numbers, actually has limited indoor facilities in size and magnitude.  This fact places more reliance on private and non-profit providers in this area.  It is significant that several key non-profit providers (the YMCA and Boy’s & Girl’s Club) do not have facilities of their own and must rely on other providers for locations to provide their programs and services.  In addition the University of Virginia is not a factor as their fine recreation facilities are virtually not available to the public at all.  To maximize overall park and recreation resources in the county, a significant number of partnering efforts have been established between providers.  This has proven to be a very effective method of delivering parks and recreation services.        

 

Return to Table of Contents

 

Section V – Citizen Input Summary

 

A major aspect of the recreational facilities needs assessment study was an effort to gather information from the citizens of the County of Albemarle regarding parks and recreation services and facilities.  As a result several input mechanisms were utilized to ensure that a strong cross section of individuals, groups, county leaders and other providers were given the opportunity to respond.  Over 20 focus group sessions were held, an open public meeting was conducted, a scientifically valid citizen’s survey was administered with over 750 responses, and a user group survey was sent to 50 groups with information received from over 25.  The following is a summary of the information that was gathered from these sources.   

 

Focus Groups –  Over the course of several months a wide variety of focus groups were conducted involving a number of parks and recreation user groups, other providers, special interest groups, community organizations, and county staff.  The following is a list of the focus group sessions that were held.

 

            Charlottesville Albemarle County Convention & Visitors Bureau-Mark Shore

            Piedmont Virginia Community College-Steve McNerny

            Martha Jefferson Hospital-Ronald Cottrell

            Dog Owners

            Charlottesville/Albemarle Commission on Children & Families-Saphira Baker

            Jefferson Area Board for Aging-Gordon Walker

            University of Virginia-Mark Fletcher

            Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Charlottesville-Dave Hilliard

            City of Charlottesville Recreation & Leisure Services-Johnny Ellen

            Senior Center Inc.-Peter Thompson

            Independence Resource Center-Tom Vandever

            Atlantic Coast Athletic Club-Phil Wendel

            Soccer Organization Charlottesville-Albemarle (SOCA)-Bill Mueller

            Piedmont Family YMCA-Bob Vanderspegiel

            Sports Groups

                        Soccer- 3 organizations

Adult Baseball- 2 organizations

                        Jr. Baseball- 2 organizations

                        Little League Baseball- 7 organizations

                        Lacrosse- 4 organizations

                        Youth Football- 1 organization

                        Girl’s Softball- 2 organizations

                        Adult Rugby- 1 organization

                        Field Hockey- 1 organization

                        Charlottesville Youth Aquatics Club

                        Charlottesville STAR Swim Team, Inc.

Virginia Gators Swim Team

                       

Albemarle County Staff-Mark Graham, David Benish, John Miller, Kathy Ralston, Tex Weaver

            Albemarle County Executive Staff-Bob Tucker, Roxanne White, Tom Foley

            Albemarle County Board of Supervisors-Dennis Rooker, Sally Thomas

            Albemarle County Parks & Recreation Staff- Pat Mullaney, Bob Crickenberger 

            Albemarle County Schools Staff-Al Reaser

            Albemarle County Schools Athletic Directors

 

The general findings of these focus group sessions include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Meeting – An open public meeting was held on Wednesday, April 16th to gather opinions from the community regarding existing Albemarle parks and recreation facilities and programs as well as future needs and levels of service.  Despite a relatively small turnout (12) there were a number of e-mails and letters that were sent by individuals that could not attend the meeting.  Key findings from the meeting were:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citizens Survey – Leisure Vision conducted a Community Attitude and Interest Survey during June and July of 2003 to help establish priorities for the future development of parks and recreation facilities, programs and services within the County of Albemarle. The survey was designed to obtain statistically valid results from households throughout the county.  The survey was administered by a combination of mail and phone.

 

Leisure Vision worked extensively with Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department 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.

The goal was to obtain at least 600 completed surveys, including at least 100 surveys in each of the six planning regions.  This goal was far exceeded, with 762 surveys being completed, and over 100 being completed in each of the six planning regions. The results of the random sample of 762 households have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/-3.6%.

 

The following pages summarize major survey findings:

 

Visitation of Albemarle County Parks During the Past Year

 

From a list of 4 Albemarle County parks, respondents were asked to indicate all of the ones that they and members of their household have visited during the past year. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Each of the four Albemarle County parks had over 20% of respondent households indicate they have visited them during the past year, including: Walnut Creek (29%); Towe Park (29%); Chris Greene Park (24%); and Mint Springs Park (22%).  It should also be noted that two-thirds (66%) of respondents households have visited at least one of the four parks.

 

§         Nearly three-fourths (72%) of respondents indicated they have visited a park in Albemarle County during the past year. This includes 66% of respondents who have visited either Chris Greene, Mint Springs, Walnut Creek, or Towe Park, and 6% who have not visited one of those four parks, but have visited other parks in Albemarle County.  Twenty-eight percent (28%) of respondents have not visited any parks in Albemarle County during the past year.

 

§         Thirty-four percent (34%) of respondent households indicated they have visited Albemarle County parks other than Chris Greene, Mint Springs, Walnut Creek, or Towe Park during the past year, and the other 66% indicated they have not visited any other Albemarle County parks.

 

§         Penn Park is the park visited by the highest number of respondent households (after the four parks mentioned above).  Other parks visited by a high number of respondent households include McIntire and Ivy Creek.

 

Physical Condition of Albemarle County Parks

 

Respondent households who have visited Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department parks during the past year were asked how they would rate the physical condition of all the parks they had visited. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Thirty percent (30%) of respondent households rated the physical condition of all the Albemarle County parks they have visited as excellent, and an additional 59% rated them as good. In addition, 10% rated the physical condition of the parks as fair and only 1% rated them as poor.

 

Improvements to Albemarle County Parks

 

From a list of 15 possible improvements to Albemarle County parks, respondents were asked to indicate the three improvements they would most like to have made to the park they visit most often.  Respondents who do not currently use Albemarle County parks were asked to indicate the three improvements that would encourage them to use the parks.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Restrooms (37%) had the highest percentage of respondents rate it as one of the three improvements they would most like to have made. Other improvements that a high percentage of respondents rated as one of the three they would like to have made include: walking/biking trails (34%); shade trees (21%); drinking fountains (18%); and picnic shelters (17%).

 

Recreational Facilities that Respondent Households Have a Need for

 

     From a list of 27 existing recreational facilities, respondents were asked to indicate which ones they and members of their household have a need for. The following summarizes key findings:

     

§       Four of the 27 recreational facilities had over half of respondent households indicate they have a need for the facility.  The facilities that the highest percentage of respondent households indicated they have a need for include: nature centers/natural areas (63%); paved walking/biking trails (58%); small community parks (56%); and picnic shelters/areas (54%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How Well Existing Facilities Meet Respondent Household Needs

 

     From the list of 27 existing recreational facilities, respondents were asked to indicate how well each facility meets the needs of their household. The following summarizes key findings:

     

§      Ten of the 27 recreational facilities had at least 40% of respondents indicate that the facility completely meets the needs of their household.  The facilities that had the highest percentage of respondents indicate that the facility completely meets their needs includes: large regional parks (47%); beach area for swimming (46%); soccer fields (46%); full size baseball fields with 90 ft. bases (44%); small community parks (43%); picnic shelters/areas (42%); youth baseball fields with 60 ft. bases (42%); adult softball fields (42%); playgrounds (41%); and youth softball fields (40%). It should also be noted that for all 27 types of facilities, less than 50% of respondent households indicate that their needs are being completely met.

 

     Facilities Most Important to Respondents Households

 

From the list of 27 existing recreational facilities, respondents were asked to select the four that are most important to them and members of their household.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Nature centers/natural areas, nature trails (32%) had the highest percentage of respondents rate it as one of the four most important facilities to their household.   There are three other facilities that at least 20% of respondents rated as one of the four most important, including: paved walking/biking trails (29%); small community parks (20%); and indoor swimming pools (20%). It should also be noted that nature centers/natural areas, nature trails had the highest percentage of respondents rate it as the number one most important facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participation in Programs Offered by Albemarle County Parks & Rec. Dept.

 

Respondents were asked if they or other members of their household have participated in any programs offered by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department during the past 12 months. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Twenty percent (20%) of respondent households have participated in programs offered by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department during the past 12 months, and the other 80% of respondent households have not participated in programs.

 

Quality of Albemarle County’s Recreation Programs

 

Respondent households that have participated in programs offered by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department during the past year were asked to rate the quality of the programs they have participated in.  The following summarizes key findings: 

 

§         One-third (33%) of respondent households rated the quality of programs that they have participated in as excellent, and an additional 62% rated them as good.  In addition, 3% rated the programs as fair and only 1% rated them as poor.  The remaining 1% indicated “don’t know”. 

 

Importance of Functions Performed by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department

 

From a list of 9 functions performed by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department, respondents were asked to rate the importance of each one.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Four of the nine functions had at least two-thirds of respondents rate them as being very important. The functions that received the highest very important ratings are: operating parks and facilities that are clean/well maintained (87%); preserve the environment and provide open space (78%); provide places for outdoor sports programs (67%); and provide natural areas for wildlife and plants (66%). It should also be noted that all 9 functions had over 75% of respondents rate them as being either very important or somewhat important.       

 

Most Important Functions for Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department to Provide

 

From the list of 9 functions performed by the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department, respondents were asked to select the top four most important functions for them to provide.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Operating parks and facilities that are clean/well maintained (66%) had the highest percentage of respondents select it as one of the four most important functions for the Albemarle County Parks & Recreation Department to provide. There are four other functions that over one-third of respondents selected as one of the four most important to provide, including: preserve the environment & provide open space (53%); provide natural areas for wildlife & plants (43%); provide places for outdoor sports programs (42%); and provide small community parks close to home (38%). It should also be noted that operating parks and facilities that are clean/well maintained had the highest percentage of respondents select it as the number one most important function to provide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations Albemarle County Should Partner With

 

From a list of 5 organizations, respondents were asked to select the two organizations they feel it is most important for the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department to partner with to provide parks and recreation facilities and programs.  The following summarizes key findings: 

 

§         The City of Charlottesville (63%) is the organization the highest percentage of respondents would like to see Albemarle County partner with.  In addition, 41% of respondents indicated they would like to see Albemarle County partner with local youth and adult sports programs.

 

Frequency of Use of Potential Programming Spaces

 

From a list of 16 potential indoor recreation, aquatic, and fitness programming spaces, respondents were asked to indicate how often they and members of their household would use each one. The following summarizes key findings: 

 

§         Forty-five percent (45%) of respondent households indicated they would use a weight room/cardiovascular equipment area at least once a month.  There are four other programming spaces that over one-third of respondent households would use at least once a month, including: indoor warm water family oriented swimming center (44%); indoor running/walking track (43%); aerobics/fitness space (40%); and lap lanes for exercise swimming (39%).  It should also be noted that weight room/cardiovascular equipment area (20%) had the highest percentage of respondent households indicate they would use it several times per week.

 

Programming Spaces that Respondents Would Be Most Willing to Support with Tax Dollars

 

From the list of 16 potential indoor recreation, aquatic, and fitness programming spaces, respondents were asked to select the top three they would be most willing to support with their tax dollars.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         An indoor warm water family oriented swimming center (34%) had the highest percentage of respondents select it as one of the four programming spaces they would be most willing to support with tax dollars. There are three other programming spaces that over 20% of respondents selected as one of the top three they would support with tax dollars, including: indoor running/walking track (28%); weight room/cardiovascular equipment area (25%); and aerobics/fitness space (22%). It should also be noted that an indoor warm water family oriented swimming center had by a wide margin the highest percentage of respondents select it as the number one programming space they would be most willing to support with tax dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emphasis on Developing Small Community Parks vs. Large Regional Parks

 

From the list of 4 statements, respondents were asked to indicate which one best describes the emphasis that Albemarle County Parks and Recreation should place on the development of small community parks as compared to large regional parks.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Nearly half (47%) of respondents indicated that equal emphasis should be placed on developing small community parks and large regional parks. In addition, 22% of respondents indicated that more emphasis should be placed on developing small community parks, and 17% would place more emphasis on developing large regional parks.  It should also be noted that 11% of respondents indicated that no new community or regional parks are needed.

 

Use of Organizations for Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities

 

From a list of 10 options, respondent households were asked to select all of the organizations they use within Albemarle County for parks and recreation programs and facilities.  The following summarizes key findings: 

 

§         The Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department (44%) is the organization used by the highest percentage of respondent households.  There are three other organizations that over 30% of respondent households indicated they use, including: private clubs (36%); churches (34%); and the City of Charlottesville (32%).

 

Organizations that Respondents Use the Most for Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities

 

From the list of 10 options, respondent households were asked to select the two organizations whose parks and recreation programs and facilities they use the most. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Private clubs (27%) had the highest percentage of respondents select it as one of the two organizations they use the most.  Other organizations that a high percentage of respondents indicated as one of the two they use the most include: Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department (25%); City of Charlottesville (18%); and churches (16%). 

 

Support for Actions to Improve the Parks and Recreation System

 

From a list of 13 actions that the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department could take to improve the parks and recreation system, respondents were asked to indicate their level of support for each one. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Two of the 13 actions had over half of respondents indicate being very supportive of them. The actions that received the highest very supportive ratings are: preserve/conserve existing parks, playgrounds, etc (72%) and purchase land to preserve open space, natural areas, greenways (52%). It should also be noted that 9 of the 13 actions had over 60% of respondents indicate being either very supportive or somewhat supportive of them.       

 

Actions that Are Most Important to Respondent Households

 

From the list of 13 actions that the Albemarle County Parks and Recreation Department could take to improve the parks and recreation system, respondent households were asked to select the top four that are most important to them.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Preserve/conserve existing parks, playgrounds, etc. (53%) had the highest percentage of respondent households select it as one of the four most important actions for Albemarle County to take.  There are four other actions that over 30% of respondent households selected as one of the four most important, including: purchase land to preserve open space, natural areas, greenways (39%); develop new walking/biking trails and greenways (37%); develop small community parks close to home (33%); and develop new indoor recreation facilities (32%).  It should also be noted that purchase land to preserve open space, natural areas, greenways had the highest percentage of respondents select it as the number one most important action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs for Maintaining Youth and Adult Sports Fields

 

Respondents were asked what percentage of the cost to maintain youth and adult sports fields should be paid through user fees, and what percentage through taxes.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Twenty-nine percent (29%) of respondents indicated that the costs to maintain youth sports fields should be split evenly between user fees (50%) and taxes (50%). In addition, 11% indicated that 100% of the costs for youth sports fields should be paid through user fees, and 21% indicated that 100% should be paid through taxes.

 

§         One-third (33%) of respondents indicated that the costs to maintain adult sports fields should be split evenly between user fees (50%) and taxes (50%). In addition, 16% indicated that 100% of the costs for adult fields should be paid through user fees, and 12% indicated that 100% should be paid through taxes.

Allocation of $100 Among Various Parks and Recreation Categories

 

Respondents were asked how they would allocate $100 among various parks and recreation categories. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Respondents indicated they would allocate $38 out of every $100 to improvements/ maintenance of existing parks, sports, recreation facilities, etc.  The remaining $62 was allocated as follows: development of new indoor recreation facilities ($21); acquisition of new parkland and open space ($20); and development of new outdoor recreation and parks facilities ($18). The remaining $3 was allocated to “other”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amount Respondents Would Pay in Increased Property Taxes to Fund the Most Important Types of Parks, Trails, & Facilities

 

From a list of 5 options, respondents were asked to indicate the maximum amount they would be willing to pay in increased property taxes to fund the types of parks, trails, sports and recreation facilities most important to them and their household.  The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Thirty-nine percent (39%) of respondents indicated they would pay at least $10 per month in increased property taxes to fund the most important types of parks, trails, sports and recreation facilities.  This group includes 21% who would pay $10-$14, 11% who would pay $20 or more, and 7% who would pay $15-$19.  In addition, 21% would pay $5-$9 and 16% would pay $1-$4.  It should also be noted that 20% would not pay an increase in taxes, and the remaining 4% did not provide an answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voting on Increasing Taxes to Fund the Most Important Types of Parks, Trails and Facilities

 

Respondents were asked how they would vote if an election were held to fund the types of parks, trails, sports and recreation facilities most important to them and their household. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents indicated they would either vote in favor (41%) of might vote in favor (23%) if an election were held to fund the most important types of parks, trails, sports and recreation facilitiesIn addition, 15% of respondents indicated they would vote against, and 20% indicated they were not sure how they would vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons Respondents Are Not Sure or Would Vote Against a Tax Increase

 

From a list of three reasons, respondents who indicated they are not sure or would vote against a tax increase to fund the types of parks, trails, sports and recreation facilities most important to them and their household were asked to indicate the major reason for their response. The following summarizes key findings:

 

§         Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents indicated “I need more information” as the major reason for their response.  In addition, 39% indicated “I am opposed to any tax increase to fund County parks and recreation projects”, and 2% indicated “I do not think there is a need for any improvements”.   Thirteen percent (13%) indicated “other” and the remaining 2% did not provide an answer.

 

In addition to analyzing the overall survey findings it is beneficial to look at specific cross sections of responses.  This helps with understanding where some differences or similarities may exist.

 

Charlottesville and the County:  When the responses are reviewed and compared between the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle some of basic findings are.

 

·        City residents actually have a slightly higher rate of use of county parks than do county residents.

 

·        City residents are strong users of county parks but county residents use county facilities at a higher rate than they do city parks.

 

·        Regarding basic recreation needs, improvements and desired facilities, there are similar responses between the city and county.

 

·        The rate of participation in county recreation programs is much higher in the county than the city.

 

·        There is generally a higher rate of support for voting yes for a tax increase in the city than the county.

 

Urban and Rural Areas of the County:   Breaking down the responses between the urban and rural areas of the county some of basic findings are.

 

·        Urban residents have a slightly higher rate of use of county parks than do rural residents.

 

·        Regarding basic recreation needs, improvements and desired facilities, there are similar responses between the urban and rural areas.

 

·        The rate of participation in county recreation programs is higher in the rural areas than the urban.

 

·        The rural areas of the county are a little more willing to pay a higher pay property tax amount for parks improvements than the urban area.

 

·        There is generally a slightly higher rate of support for a tax increase in the urban area than the rural.

 

Seniors:  If the responses from seniors are broken out from other age groups the basic findings are.

 

 

·        Regarding basic recreation needs, improvements and desired facilities, there are similar responses between seniors and other age groups but the extent of the demand is less with seniors and there is more interest in passive use areas and senior focused elements than other ages indicated.

 

 

Other:  Some other characteristics by different demographic groups include.

 

 

 

 

User Group Survey – With the assistance of the County of Albemarle’s staff, a special user group survey was sent to fifty organizations that are current users or county parks and recreation facilities to gain specific insight into their organization, use patterns of facilities and future needs.  From this twenty eight surveys were returned (the vast majority from youth and adult sports groups) and the following were the basic findings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall Citizen Input Findings – When all of the citizen input mechanisms are reviewed as a whole the following are some of the consistent findings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Section VI – Partnership Analysis

 

Currently the County of Albemarle Parks and Recreation Department is involved with a number of partnerships with other organizations and recreation service providers.  It is clear that these types of partnerships will need to continue and indeed expand if the overall park and recreation needs of the county are to be met.

 

Existing Partnerships Include:

 

1. Albemarle County Schools – Schools in Albemarle County also double as public parks.  Elementary schools function as community parks, and middle and high schools are considered as district parks.   A significant number of Albemarle Parks and Recreation classes and programs are run at school sites and the department is able to use these facilities free of charge.  When a new school site is purchased in the county, recreation needs are taken into account when buying property.  In the past when new schools have been built the school board would purchase the property build the school and grade the site.  The parks and recreation department would then fund the outdoor recreation facilities.  All new elementary schools built in Albemarle County within the last 10 years or so have had wooden floors and full size (8,000 sq. foot) gyms because of their use for community recreation.  The Parks and Recreation Department maintains some select athletic facilities on the school grounds where there is joint school/community use and the site has been selected as a higher priority for an increased maintenance program.  It is the department’s long range goal to eventually have all the school fields on such a program.  In addition parks and recreation has been undertaking capital improvements on school grounds for community recreation the past 25 years. 

 

2. City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation – The city and county parks and recreation departments have partnered in a number of different ways.  There are two city/county parks which are administered by the county and funded by both entities.  One is the 215-acre Ivy Creek Natural Area, which includes an additional partnership with the non-profit Ivy Creek Foundation.  The foundation builds and maintains the trails and provides nature programming at the site.  The other park is Darden Towe Memorial Park, which is the largest and most heavily utilized athletic field complex in both the city and county.  This parkland was purchased and largely built on a 50/50 share.  Operation costs are based on actual usage, which runs approximately 62% for the county and 38% for the city.  The park is administered by the county staff with consultation with city staff when necessary and oversight on major issues by a committee consisting of 2 city councilors and 2 board of supervisors members.  The city has historically run adult softball and volleyball leagues with the county providing field and gym space for these programs.  As a result no non-resident fee is charged to county residents.  The county runs adult basketball leagues and does not charge non-resident fees to city residents.  Other cooperative programs include the therapeutic recreation program, which is run by the city with the county paying its share of direct expenses based usage.  The skateboard park is administered by the city with the county paying a percentage of the original construction and a share of operational costs based on usage by county residents.  The city and county also run several special events together like the Easter Egg Hunt and the Hershey Track and Field meet.  The county provides space for a variety of city programs at county facilities free of charge.  An example would be the City Fishing Rodeo, which is held at Mint Springs Park.  Recently the city and county as well as McIntire Little League funded the lighting and the reconstruction of two little league fields in the city’s McIntire Park.

 

3. Piedmont Virginia Community College – Two softball fields at PVCC are used by the city to run their adult softball program with the city providing the field maintenance.  The county recently paid to install new lights but a cost share between the city and county originally lighted the fields.

 

4. YMCA – Albemarle County Parks and Recreation and the YMCA cosponsor the youth basketball program with the county providing the gym space and $4,200 per year to the Y for administering the program.

 

5. SOCA – The Soccer Organization of Charlottesville Albemarle is a non-profit group, which runs most of the organized soccer programs in the area.  The county provides substantial field space and does not compete by running its own program.  SOCA has contributed funding on a joint city/county/SOCA program to upgrade the fields at Towe Park.  SOCA recently built its own 5-field complex, which the county contributed financially to.  The county currently has $300,000 programmed in its FY 03-04 CIP budget to partner with SOCA for additional such field projects.

 

6. Lane League – The Lane League provides all the field maintenance at Lane Field which is a county owned field that is located in the middle of the City of Charlottesville.  The Lane League operates a junior and senior league baseball program.

 

7. Various Little Leagues and Youth Sports Programs – The majority of youth sports are run by parent run volunteer organizations.  The county provides the field space and shares maintenance responsibilities for these fields depending on the ability and desire of the various organizations.

 

8. Claudius Crozet Park – One of the county’s most successful partnerships is with the private non-profit Crozet Park Board.  This is a 20+ acre park in the middle of Crozet owned by the Crozet Park Board.  Crozet Park has provided an outdoor swimming pool for the residents of Crozet and surrounding area for over 50 years.  On two occasions in the past 20 years the park has received capital funding from the county and the parks and recreation department also provides some basic maintenance assistance. 

 

9. Town of Scottsville – The county is joined in a partnership with the Town of Scottsville.  The county owns the Scottsville Community Center, which consists of the gymnasium wing and grounds of the old Scottsville High School.  The town owns the adjacent property, which was minimally developed and known as Dorrier Park.  The county entered into a restrictive covenant agreement with the town of Scottsville that said the county would develop and maintain both properties as one park with the deed restriction that Dorrier Park will always remain available for public recreation.   

 

10. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries – The county provides routine maintenance at the Scottsville Boat Launch on the James River owned by VDGIF.  The county leases VDGIF property and private property at Howardsville on the James River and operates a river access there where VDGIF failed.  VDGIF and the County have a fish management agreement whereby VDGIF biologists sample and regulate the fisheries at county parks.

 

11. Jefferson Area Board for Aging – The county has agreements with JABA to provide space for senior services at the Scottsville and the Meadows Community Center.

 

Note:  This assessment of current partnerships was taken directly from information provided by county staff.

 

Even with the strong foundation of partnerships currently in existence, the county’s parks and recreation department will need to grow.

 

Expanded Partnerships Include:

 

1. Albemarle County Schools – Continue to coordinate county parks and recreation needs with any new schools being built.  Work to add additional school athletic fields to the parks and recreation maintenance program. 

 

2. City of Charlottesville Parks and Recreation – When the opportunity arises partnerships will need to be sought for the development of additional recreation facilities in the urban areas of the county.  This will be especially critical if new indoor recreation facilities are added.  Further definition will be needed to determine what programs and services will be the responsibility of the county and which will be offered by the city.

 

3. YMCA – The Y has long term plans to develop their own indoor center and the county will need to follow this effort closely.  Consideration should be given to discussing what specific indoor amenities might be developed by the county and what complimentary facilities could be offered by the YMCA.  Existing recreation programming and services should also be coordinated as well as future needs and expectations.

 

4. Youth Sports Organizations – To help fill the need for additional playing fields the county should encourage youth sports groups to develop some of their own fields.  This could be on county property (by lease) or on private property acquired by the sports group.  The establishment of a well defined program that will give field development seed money to youth sports groups should be considered to jump start such plans.  Such a program should also encourage basic daily and weekly maintenance to be handled by the organization itself or a payment for services established for county maintenance.  In addition for facilities owned and maintained by the county there should be a per player/per season fee established to cover basic maintenance costs.  If the sports organization handles its own maintenance (based on county developed standards) then the per player rate would be reduced or even eliminated.

 

New Partnerships Include:

 

1. Developers It will be essential that the county work with new housing tracts to establish basic park development standards that encourage the developer to not only set aside property for parks (at a minimum size) and also potentially build the park itself to county standards.  Since there is no legal requirement for the develop to do this an overall development incentive program would need to be established for this concept to work.   

       

2. Homeowner Associations – For new housing tracts encourage the establishment of a homeowners assessment for the on-going maintenance and operation of new parks and recreation facilities that are part of their development.

 

3. Hospital – With Martha Jefferson Hospital poised to move to a new campus in the coming years, there are plans to develop a significant community park as part of the hospital grounds.  This could provide an opportunity to partner for community festivals and special events and even the development of permanent parks amenities that could be utilized by the hospital as well as the general public.

 

4. University of Virginia – Up to this point the university has developed and operated its many sports and recreation facilities for student, faculty and staff use only.  However dialogue should still be held with the university when either the county or university is considering the development of a sports or recreation amenity that might have some influence on the other organization.

 

5. Senior Organizations – Currently the county really does not have any type of senior programming or senior oriented facility in place.  However in the coming years developing a strong partnership with an existing senior provider (Jefferson Area Board for Aging or Senior Center Inc.) will be essential to expanding senior services in the county.  If the county moves into the development of indoor facilities then including senior amenities that can be programmed by existing organizations will be important.

 

6. For Profit Sports and Fitness Providers – Although much more difficult to establish, exploring partnership opportunities with private health club providers should be pursued.  The possibility of contract operation of a county indoor sports or fitness facility is there or even the actual joint development of facilities themselves.      

  

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Section VII – Phase I Summary and Conclusions

 

The basic findings of the first phase of the recreational facilities needs assessment study include:

 

  1. Continued growth in the demand for park and recreation facilities, programs and services in most every area will put continuing pressure on Albemarle Parks and Recreation to provide more.

 

  1. The county’s parks and recreation department is recognized as a prime provider of recreation facilities within the county and Charlottesville itself.  The department has a strong reputation for developing and maintaining quality facilities.   

 

  1. The county will need to have a broader approach to parks and recreation services that has a focus beyond just youth sports, natural areas and large regional parks.

 

  1. The top priority for the county will need to be the continued maintenance and upkeep of existing parks and recreation facilities.

 

  1. The greatest need for parks facilities is in the area of open space and natural areas as well as trails and community parks.

 

  1. There is a general lack of indoor recreation and sports facilities in the county and county residents feel that these needs are not being met.

 

  1. The county will need to clearly define its role in providing future parks and recreation facilities and programs. 

 

  1. The continued development of strong partnerships with a variety of organizations and providers will be critical to the successful provision of parks and recreation facilities and services to county residents.

 

  1. The county will need to develop a comprehensive user fee policy for facilities and services that ensures a strong revenue stream for operations.

 

  1. The county will need to continue to assume the maintenance of school fields and park areas.

 

  1. One of the areas with the greatest needs is indoor recreation.

 

  1. The greatest challenge to expanding parks and recreation services in the county will be funding for capital development as well as operations.  The county will need to explore funding options to make significant additions and improvements to the parks and recreation facilities inventory.

 

  1. The county will need to formalize long term agreements with existing partners, and user groups.  In addition the development of a comprehensive long range master plan for the county’s parks and recreation department that establishes a roadmap for the future as well as outlines development and operational standards is essential.     

 

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