Parks Count, the Fairfax County Park and Recreation Needs
Assessment is almost done! There is still time to review the
results and add your voice! Every decade the Fairfax County Park
Authority examines whether park offerings match the community's diverse
interests, lifestyles, and changing trends. This ensures that the Park
Authority is investing wisely in its award-winning park system and
providing quality parks and services to all County residents.
PARKS COUNT! - A QUALITY PARK SYSTEM
FOR A DIVERSE COMMUNITY
Parks count! Fairfax County benefits from a diverse
community of over one million residents who have varied ages, incomes,
languages, nationalities and levels of activity and mobility. Your park
and recreation interests are as diverse as the community. You may like
to walk through the woods, skate, swim, play sports, visit historic
sites, garden, take classes or socialize with fellow pet owners. Most
residents have multiple recreation and leisure interests that rely on
parks. We want parks to count in your life!
Parks, activities and facilities help you enjoy life in
Fairfax County! The Fairfax County Park Authority provides
parks, recreation facilities, classes, camps and programs at an
affordable cost as well as protects natural and cultural resources Park
and recreation needs shift over time and grow more quickly than
available funding. These changing needs must be counted and prioritized
in order to make wise investments and decisions concerning parks.
Counting your needs and meeting them! Knowing that
residents, individual preferences, and park and recreation trends
change over time, we must periodically count your needs and
preferences. The Needs Assessment Study is that periodic count, relying
on research, surveys, and analysis. It helps us better understand what
our customers need from a park and recreation system and how our agency
can best balance and prioritize those needs across the County. The last
study was completed in 2004 and the current study began in the summer
Communication and participation...
We've established this website as the central, one-stop shop for Needs
Assessment updates and information. You'll be asked to share opinions
and views through this website, by email, and in person at a second
Open House to be held on April 14, 2016. Sharing information with us
helps us understand how you use parks and may help you learn a little
bit more about Fairfax County's award-winning park system.
During the first phase of information gathering (September 2014 –
January 2015), we heard a lot from park users about how you use parks,
what you love about your parks, and how we can better meet your needs
now and in the future. Here are some of the ways you’ve participated to
Online forum: The Parks Count crowdsourcing page was an online
forum for exchanging ideas. Users set up user accounts and were able
to post and vote for comments . This forum was used heavily during
the information gathering phase (over 700 users!) and while the forum
is now closed, the input provided is captured in the Qualitative
Meeting in a Box: This tool allowed you to host a small group
meeting of friends, colleagues, or neighbors to discuss the same
matters discussed online and in the first public forum. If you
couldn’t come to us, this meeting packet allowed us to virtually come
Qualitative Input Summary Report captures the breadth of topics
and interests captures the breadth of topics and interests you shared
with us in the first phase of information gathering. The document is
long and reflects many views and interests. The first eight pages offer
highlights and key takeaways from the input, the remaining 55 pages
provide compilations and summary notes grouped by input source (e.g.,
Open House, Meeting in a Box, etc.). Thumb through to see a sample of
what you’ve shared.
Thank you to those who have participated so far. You have shared many
ideas and thoughts – thank you.
The Park Authority partnered with a leading national consultant, ETC
Institute, to administer the statistically valid survey, a linchpin of
the Needs Assessment Study. Almost 35,000 surveys were mailed to
Fairfax County households representing a random sample that will be
used to project Countywide park and recreation needs. The survey
results will help inform priorities and decisions about future park and
recreation service delivery and facility improvements.
Summary results were released September 2015 and are available as part
of a media
packet. The full findings report is now available for
those wanting more. The report includes charts and graphs released in
September 2015, but also goes beyond by providing additional detailed
results and response data. The file is large and is offered in parts
(see below) to aid use.
Thank you to all who took the 10 to 15 minutes to complete the survey.
Survey data, public comment, trends research, and other information
was analyzed and used to review service level standards and develop
preliminary capital investment recommendations.
It's not over yet...
Study findings and recommendations will be included in a draft final
report, available spring 2016. A public open house to share study
findings will be held Thursday, April 14 from 6:30
until 9 p.m., in the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Pkwy,
Fairfax VA). The Open House will include a brief (15min) presentation
at 7 p.m. that will be repeated at 8 p.m. The remainder of the open
house will provide an opportunity to visit various information stations
to learn more about the community’s needs for parks and facilities and
the capital improvement plan for meeting these needs over the next ten
The report will also be shared with the Park Authority Board for their
consideration. From then on through the next several years, we'll use
the findings to guide investments in parks, facilities and services
that count to our community.
STAY INFORMED – YOU COUNT!
For the full duration of this study, updates and new information can
be found on this website. Please bookmark it and refer back
periodically. If you would like to be added to the Needs Assessment
email contact list, please send your name and email address via the
E-News subscription box. We will use the email list to announce website
updates, meeting dates and key points in the process; notices will also
be posted to this site. Count on it!
4/14/16 OPEN HOUSE INFORMATION
A Parks Count open house was held April 14. If you were unable to
attend, please see the presentation and information station links
Crowdsourcing site users: The IdeaScale online forum has closed
and is no longer available, but your input lives on in the summary
report (see Documents feature below). Thanks to your participation last
fall and spring, the Park Authority is looking into bringing back a
crowdsourcing tool for agency-wide use. Stay tuned for information in
Need Survey Findings Final Report provides both summary and
detailed results from the survey conducted by ETC Institute on behalf
of the Park Authority. The report has been separated into sections for
ease of use.
Fact Sheet: Quick look at the what, why, and how of
the Needs Survey
Survey Presentation: The slide show provided to the
Park Authority Board as an update contains several results and
graphs. The file contains both the presentation as delivered (first
27 slides) and an appendix of other resource slides (remaining
A copy of the survey as it was distributed in March 2015.
Team: Brief biographical materials on the two members
of the consultant team primarily responsible for the administration
and analysis of the need survey.