Evaluating the Quality of Recreation Facilities: Development of an Assessment Tool


  • Marlo M. Cavnar
  • Karen A. Kirtland
  • Martin H. Evans
  • Dawn K. Wilson
  • Joel E. Williams
  • Gary M. Mixon
  • Karla A. Henderson


Recreation facility, evaluation tool, park condition, Geographic Information System (GIS), Total Quality Management (TQM)


The purpose of this study was to develop a tool for assessing the quality of public recreation facilities’ amenities. Knowing the location, distribution, and quality of recreation facilities can assist administrators in developing more effective programs for encouraging physical activity across city, county, and state systems. Based on a literature review, expert opinions, and professional standards, a tool was developed for assessing the safety, condition, and maintenance of recreation facilities. A Geographic Information System (GIS) database was developed to locate public recreation facilities in a southeastern county of the United States. Objective ratings of recreation facility quality were computed from the tool. Items on the tool were tested for inter-rater reliability among three independent raters. The findings demonstrated that overall the items in the tool were reliable and effective in evaluating objective physical features of the recreation facilities. Total Quality Management systems would benefit from the addition of an objective component to the evaluation of facility quality. The tool also provides a means of evaluating park quality over time, and can be modified to focus on users of particular ages, or for families versus individual users. Parks and recreation agencies have an important role to play in developing environmental supports for physical activity that may aid in reducing the national epidemic of obesity and related chronic diseases.?





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