Improving communities through sport

11 Benefits of a Community Recreation Center


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The Sports Facilities Companies knows that these potential community benefits readily come with a recreation center.

Community recreation centers hold the key to a number of benefits that enhance the quality of life in your community. Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or socioeconomic status, there are valuable programs at your local rec center for little to no cost. Whether it’s fitness classes, afterschool programs, or job training, there’s a little something for everyone. However, to realize the great value of a community recreation center, a great investment must be made. An investment of time, human, and financial resources. With many pressing needs faced by city leaders throughout the United States, it can be hard to make parks and recreation departments a priority. However, the benefits of doing so are far-reaching.

At the Sports Facilities Companies, we’ve seen the power of a strong recreation center many times over and provide recreation master planning services to arm communities with the necessary resources to achieve immeasurable success.

Below are 11 key benefits of a community recreation center that we believe you can realize with time, proper planning, and efficient execution.

Stay Healthy Longer

Community recreation centers offer many programs that benefit both the body and mind. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have lower blood pressure, delayed onset of diabetes, lower heart disease rates, and overall increased longevity. Exercise also helps increase white blood cells and aids in strengthening your immune system.

The health benefits of recreation centers extend to children as well. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), children who live close to multiple recreation centers were more physically active and less likely to be obese than children that did not have access to recreation centers.

Reduce Stress

The benefits of sports complexes not only help the body, but they also create a less-stressed mind. Stress greatly affects the community at large, and studies conducted in both the United States and Australia have found that people who participate in recreational activities are more resilient to stress and experience better mental health.

Recreation has a positive impact on happiness as well. A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies examined the results of over 23 studies dating back to 1980. The studies included over 500,000 people and found that there were correlations between happiness and exercise.

Benefits to Families

Couples and families that play together tend to stay together. Family ties are improved by spending leisure time with each other. Recreation centers like the ones in Madison, WI, one of the nation’s best park systems, host family fun nights that provide activities including art projects and a bounce house.

Recreation centers also present opportunities for parents to model good health for their children. Research from the University of Cambridge indicates that for every minute of physical activity a mother engages in, her child is more likely to perform 10 percent more of that activity.

Reduce Crime Rates with Children

A critical benefit of community recreation centers is their impact on juvenile crime. According to a report by the NRPA, adolescences who don’t participate in afterschool activities are 27 percent more likely to be arrested. Drug use is 49 percent more likely among this group.

Recreation Centers Increase Property Value

Recreation centers as part of a park system are a driver of property value increases. According to a report by the University of Washington, homes within a quarter mile of a park are 10 percent more valuable on average. Recreation centers and parks are often viewed as a symbol of community pride and active recreation centers are chock full of activities that enhance the lives of those living around them.

Keep Your Employees Alert and Around

Employers can realize the power of recreation centers through their role in the health and wellness of employees. A great example of this can be found in Dallas, where their parks and recreation department provide programs such as weight training, yoga, and aerobics classes at a fraction of the cost of a standard gym.

Statistics show that engagement in these programs whether on a company or individual level can be an effective strategy for building a strong and productive workforce. A variety of studies have indicated that employees who exercise regularly used almost half as many absences as employees who did not engage in physical activity. Employees who had actively paid for membership for physical recreation are more alert on the job, faster learners, and perform better in their roles.

Cultural Diversity

We often discuss the “recreation” part of community recreation centers, but rarely emphasize the “community” part of the term. Participating in group activities can help increase cohesion among members of a community. Many community recreation centers have programs that highlight diversity and educate community members.

Boost Your Students’ Performance

Recreation center programs can be a critical part of increasing the likelihood of student achievement. A variety of studies indicate this, including ones done by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and The After-School Corporation, among others. After school programs can have positive impacts on classroom behavior, test scores, and reading and math achievement. After school programs have also been shown to enhance experiential learning.

Child Care

Many sports complexes have included areas for after school childcare to keep kids out of an empty home while the parents are working. This time period, roughly between 3-6 pm, is a peak time for juvenile crime. According to a study by the YMCA of USA, teens who do not participate in after school programs are three times more likely to skip classes, experiment with drugs and alcohol, and be sexually active.

Additionally, recreation and sports facilities offer summer programs that can help further physical and mental growth in kids, which can benefit families tremendously.

Public Safety

Among the great of programs that offered at recreation centers throughout the country, ones that promote safety including CPR and first aid classes are among the most important. Many recreation centers offer swimming lessons for both children and adults at little cost along with classes on water safety. Additionally, recreation centers provide a meeting space for community members to discuss important issues such as crime prevention and disaster preparation.


Sports facilities, associated with larger recreation centers, can hold sports tournaments that can bring people from neighboring states. These visitors can help bring more revenue into a city a few times a year. Over time, sports tourism can drive revenue increases that have a tremendous impact on a community’s economy.

Throughout this article we’ve described a variety of benefits that can be realized with the presence of a recreation center in your community. However, these benefits can only be realized with a commitment from the community.

If you’re ready to tap into the power of community recreation centers, you’re ready to talk the SF Companies team. We have helped elevate over 2,000 communities around the country through the power sports and recreation facilities. To learn how, contact us today or call us at (727) 474-3845.


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