It's time to update the Park and Recreation Needs Assessment!
Every so often 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
park, recreational, natural and cultural resource services, facilities,
and programs at an affordable cost. Park and recreation needs shift
over time and grow more quickly than available resources. 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
WHAT TO EXPECT – WHAT COUNTS?
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
public forum to be held later in the process. Sharing information with
us will help 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’ve 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. That information is being compiled and
will be posted here when available. Here are some of the ways you’ve
participated to date:
Open house: Our first public forum was held October 2, 2014 at
Oakton Elementary School and featured an open house format. View the
Open House Presentation with script.
Online forum: The Parks Count crowdsourcing page is an online
forum for exchanging ideas. You can read comments from others and add
your own once you’ve set up a user account. This forum was used
heavily during the information gathering phase and will be used again
when draft recommendations are available (early 2016).
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
Thank you to those who have participated so far. You have shared many
ideas and thoughts – thank you.
As we work through the analysis phase (survey and analysis), continue
to follow this project site, email, and review our online forum to keep
The Park Authority has partnered with a leading national consultant,
ETC Institute, to administer the statistically valid survey, a linchpin
of the Needs Assessment Study. Almost 15,000 surveys were mailed out in
March 2015. Households that received the survey represent 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
Reponses are in and tabulations have started. Early results were
released in the middle of September, and are available as part of a media packet provided on this webpage. A full
survey report, including all response totals and analysis will be
available early October. Thank you to all who took the 10 to 15 minutes
to complete the survey.
Survey data, public comment, trends research, and other information
will be analyzed during the summer and fall of 2015 and used to develop
service level standards and preliminary recommendations. Interim
updates will be made available on this project website.
It's not over yet...
Early 2016 we will invite you to a second public forum to share the
study findings and recommendations to 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!