Chapter 3: Number and Size of Play Areas Affected by the Guidelines

3.1 Overview

In order to assess the impact of the guidelines, we need to know how many play areas are likely to be constructed or replaced in the absence of the guidelines. We first estimate the number of existing establishments that are likely to have play areas as a part of the services they provide. We then estimate how many of these existing establishments are likely to replace their play areas each year. We also estimate the number of new establishments with play areas that are likely to be constructed in the year 2000. Because the incremental costs of complying with these guidelines will vary by the size of the play area, we also estimate the size of the new and replaced play areas at each type of establishment.

We have identified 10 major business and government categories that may have play areas. (3) The methodology for estimating the number of new and replaced play areas varies by category depending on the type of data available. The general methodology requires identifying the number of establishments potentially affected by the guidelines in each category. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the primary source of data on the number of establishments in each category. (4) An establishment is defined as a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. Each category is identified by its standard industrial classification code (SIC code) as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. The most recent historical data available from the SBA on the Statistics of U.S. Businesses are for the years 1988 through 1996. Because the SBA data is only current through 1996, we use the historical growth in the number of establishments in each SIC code to estimate the number of establishments in operation during 1999. The historical growth trends for each SIC code were also used to estimate how many new establishments are expected to be constructed in the year 2000.

We used an alternative methodology to estimate the number of recreational vehicle parks and campsites, public and private schools, child care centers, and municipal and state parks. Using SIC code data was not appropriate for those categories because more recent data was available or because SIC data does not exist for these categories. We do not expect that the use of multiple data sets will affect the quality of the assessment because the categories are largely independent of each other.

The definitions of some SIC codes include a variety of business operations that may or may not have play areas. For example, the eating places SIC code includes business operations that range from fast-food establishments to fine dining establishments. Obviously not all of these eating places are likely to have play areas. Therefore, the proportion of play areas at existing establishments within each SIC code is estimated. The assumptions applied to estimate these proportions are described for each category. The same assumptions are applied to estimate how many new establishments with play areas will be constructed.

Since the guidelines apply only to new construction and alterations, the number of existing establishments with play areas does not represent the annual number of play areas affected by the guidelines. Instead, some of these existing play areas are replaced each year and then become subject to the guidelines. The annual number of replaced play areas is estimated using the expected replacement rate for existing play areas. Since we have not found data on the play area replacement rate, we make assumptions about the rate. There are two natural times to replace a play area: when the entire facility is upgraded or renovated, or when the play equipment physically wears out. Business and government sectors vary in their average turnover or renovation rates; restaurants may remodel every few years, while parks are rarely redesigned. If renovations of the entire facility is the best measure of the play area replacement rate, an average replacement rate across all sectors would be approximately 10 years. The alternative approach is based on the typical warranty period of play equipment, which represents the expected useful life of an existing play area. Based on warranty information gathered from manufacturers' catalogues, the typical useful life of play equipment is 25 years. To represent this range of values, we assume an annual replacement rate of 15 years or 6.67 percent for existing play areas.

Table 3-1 shows the estimated number of existing establishments with play areas in 1999. Table 3-2 shows the estimated number and size of existing play areas expected to be replaced annually. The specific methodologies and assumptions used to estimate the numbers for each category are discussed in the next section.

Table 3-1. Existing Establishments with Play Areas

>

SIC Category Existing
Establishments
in 1999
Percent with
Play Areas
Number of
Play Areas
Low High Low High
5812 Eating Places 420,000 2 5 8,400 21,000
7011 Hotels & Motels 47,000 2 5 940 2,300
7032 Sporting & Recreational Camps 3,600 10 25 360 900
7033 Recreational Vehicle Parks & Campsites 7,000 40 60 2,800 4,200
7999 Miscellaneous Amusement & Recreation 32,000 10 25 3,200 8,000
n/a Public Schools 65,000 80 100 52,000 65,000
n/a Private Nonsectarian Schools 5,500 80 100 4,400 5,500
8351 Child Day Care Services 102,000 90 100 92,000 102,000
8641 Civic, Social, & Fraternal Associations 37,000 2 5 740 1,900
n/a Municipal & State Parks 111,000 30 60 33,000 67,000
Total 830,000     200,000 280,000

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Table 3-3. Number & Size of Existing Play Areas Replaced Annually

SIC Category Small Medium Large Total
Low High Low High Low High Low High
5812 Eating Places 560 1,400 - - - - 560 1,400
7011 Hotels & Motels 50 125 12 31 - - 60 160
7032 Sporting & Recreational Camps 5 12 19 48 - - 25 60
7033 Recreational Vehicle Parks & Campsites 150 224 37 56 - - 190 280
7999 Miscellaneous Amusement & Recreation 106 265 106 265 - - 210 530
n/a Public Schools 700 870 2,400 3,000 350 430 3,450 4,300
n/a Private Nonsectarian Schools 60 70 200 260 29 37 290 370
8351 Child Day Care Services 3,700 4,100 1,800 2,000 620 680 6,100 6,800
8641 Civic, Social, & Fraternal Associations 40 100 10 20 - - 50 120
n/a Municipal and State Parks - - 440 890 1,760 3,575 2,200 4,470
Total 5,400 7,200 5,100 6,700 2,800 4,700 13,300 18,600

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Table 3-3 shows the estimated number of new establishments with play areas that are expected to be constructed in the year 2000. Table 3-4 shows the estimated size of these newly constructed play areas. The specific methodologies and assumptions used to estimate the numbers for each category are discussed in the next section.

Table 3-3. Newly Constructed Establishments with Play Areas

SIC Category New Establishments in 2000 Percent with Play Areas Number of
Play Areas
Low High/th> Low High
5812 Eating Places 14,700 2 5 300 740
7011 Hotels & Motels 700 2 5 15 35
7032 Sporting & Recreational Camps 100 10 25 10 25
7033 Recreational Vehicle Parks & Campsites 170 40 60 70 100
7099 Miscellaneous Amusement & Recreation 1,500 10 25 150 380
n/a Public Schools 400 80 100 320 400
n/a Private Nonsectarian Schools 40 80 100 30 40
8351 Child Day Care Services 3,500 90 100 3,150 3,500
8641 Civic, Social, & Fraternal Associations - - - - -
n/a Municipal & State Parks

200

30

60

60

120

Total 21,000     4,100 5,300

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Table 4-4. Number & Size of Newly Constructed Play Areas

SIC Category Small Medium Large Total
Low High Low High Low High Low High
5812 Eating Places 300 740 - - - - 300 740
7011 Hotels & Motels 11 28 3 7 - - 15 35
7032 Sporting & Recreational Camps 2 5 8 20 - - 10 25
7033 Recreational Vehicle Parks & Campsites 55 83 14 21 - - 70 100
7999 Miscellaneous Amusement & Recreation 77 190 77 190 - - 150 380
n/a Public Elementary & Middle Schools 65 81 224 280 32 40 320 400
n/a Private Elementary and & Middle Schools   8 23 29 3 4 30 40
8351 Child Day Care Services 1,900 2,100 940 1,050 310 350 3,150 3,500
8641 Civic, Social, & Fraternal Associations - - - - - - - -
n/a Municipal & State Parks     12 24 48 96 60 120
Total 2,400 3,200 1,300 1,600 400 490 4,100 5,300

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

3.2 Number and Size of New and Replaced Play Areas

3.2.1 Eating Places

This category (SIC code 5812) includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of prepared food and drink for on-premise or immediate consumption. Based on historical data from the Bureau of Census, this category averaged 4.7 percent growth annually between 1990 and 1996. The estimated number of eating places in 1999 is 420,000; and the projected number of new establishments in the year 2000 is 14,700.

How many existing eating places are likely to have play areas?

We assume that eating places which cater to families with young children are likely to have some type of play area for customers. Some fast food restaurants have indoor soft contained play structures. Research prepared by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that approximately 7,000 fast food restaurants nationwide have soft contained play structures. (5) Casual observation indicates that, while soft contained play structures represent a significant proportion of the play areas in eating places, they do not represent the entire universe. Some "family style" restaurants provide play areas for children in an outdoor setting as well. We estimate that the number of existing eating places that provide play areas, other than soft contained play structures, ranges between 2 percent and 5 percent, yielding 8,400 to 21,000 existing play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 560 to 1,400 existing play areas will be replaced annually at eating places. Because the space for serving food to customers will be valued a higher rate than space for a play area, we assume the play areas are small.

How many new eating places with play areas will to be constructed?

The proportion of new eating places with play areas is expected to be the same as assumed for existing establishments. We estimate that approximately 300 to 740 new eating places with play areas will be constructed in the year 2000, and that the play areas will be small.

3.2.2 Hotels and Motels

This category (SIC code 7011) includes commercial establishments commonly known as hotels, motor hotels, motels, and tourist courts, primarily engaged in providing lodging, or lodging and meals, to the general public. Based on historical data from the Bureau of Census, this category experienced a moderate growth rate between 1990 and 1996. The estimated number of hotels and motels in 1999 is 47,000; and the projected number of new establishments in the year 2000 is 700.

How many existing hotels and motels are likely to have play areas?

We assume that hotels and motels which advertise themselves as family lodging are most likely to have play areas. We estimate that the number of existing hotels and motels with play areas ranges between 2 percent and 5 percent, yielding 940 to 2,300 existing play areas. This may underestimate the number of existing hotel and motels with play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 60 to160 existing play areas will be replaced annually at hotels and motels. Because play areas are amenities valued by a relative minority of hotel and motel customers, we assume that 80 percent are small, and 20 percent are medium. There are exceptions to this assumption such as areas like Orlando, Florida with tourist attractions that target young children.

How many new hotels and motels with play areas will be constructed?

The proportion of new hotels and motels with play areas is expected to be the same as assumed for existing establishments. We estimate that approximately 15 to 35 new hotels and motels with play areas will be constructed in the year 2000, and that 80 percent will be small and 20 percent will be medium.

3.2.3 Sporting and Recreational Camps

These establishments (SIC code 7032) are primarily engaged in operating boys and girls camps, scout camps, and fishing and hunting camps. Based on historical data from the Bureau of Census, this category experienced a moderate growth rate between 1990 and 1996. The estimated number of sporting and recreational camps in 1999 is 3,600; and the projected number of new establishments in the year 2000 is 100.

How many existing sporting and recreational camps are likely to have play areas?

The sporting and recreation camps category includes a variety of establishments and is not exclusive to camps providing services to young children. We estimate that 10 percent to 25 percent of the existing establishments are likely to have play areas, yielding 360 to 900 existing play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 25 to 60 existing play areas are replaced annually at sporting and recreational camps. The size distribution of these existing play areas is assumed to be driven by the age of the camp participants. We assume that 80 percent are medium, and 20 percent are small.

How many new sporting and recreational camps with play areas will be constructed?

The proportion of new sporting and recreational camps with play areas is expected to be same as assumed for existing establishments. We estimate that approximately 10 to 25 new sporting and recreational camps with play areas will be constructed in the year 2000; and that 80 percent will be medium and 20 percent will be small.

3.2.4 Recreation Vehicle Parks and Campsites

These establishments (SIC code 7033) are primarily engaged in providing temporary space for parking recreational vehicles or setting up tents. Based on data compiled by Woodall's Publication Corp., a service that publishes an annual directory of campgrounds that include recreational vehicle parks, approximately 7,000 privately-owned sites were in operation during 1999. (6) The growth since the early 1990's in the recreational vehicle park and campsite sector has been moderate. Based on historical growth, the projected number of new establishments in the year 2000 is 170.

How many existing recreational vehicle parks and campsites are likely to have play areas?

Recreational vehicle parks and campsites range from very simple and rustic with few amenities to luxurious settings with swimming pools, arcades, and play areas. The Woodall directory includes a quality rating for the sites and the amenities they provide, including play areas. Over 54 percent of the sites have playgrounds or play equipment. The Woodall's directory defines playgrounds as having commercial and/or durable quality play equipment, and there must be at least three types of play equipment or extensive quantities of any one particular type. Play equipment is anything less than playgrounds (i.e., the items are of lesser quality or do not meet the quantity requirement). This suggests that fewer than 54 percent of existing facilities may have play areas that would be covered by the guidelines. We estimate that the number of existing sites that have play areas ranges between 40 and 60 percent, yielding 2,800 to 4,200 existing play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 190 to 280 existing play areas will be replaced annually at recreational vehicle parks and campsites. We assume that 80 percent are small, and 20 percent are medium.

How many new recreational vehicle parks and campsites with play areas will be constructed?

The proportion of new recreational vehicle parks and campsites with play areas is expected to be the same as assumed for existing establishments. We estimate that approximately 70 to 100 new recreational vehicle parks and campsites with play areas will be constructed in the year 2000, and that 80 percent will be small and 20 percent will be medium.

3.2.5 Miscellaneous Amusement and Recreation

This category (SIC code 7996) includes day camps, picnic grounds, and other private amusement and recreation services not classified elsewhere. Based on historical data from the Bureau of Census, this category has averaged 8 percent growth annually between 1990 and 1996. The estimated number of miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments in 1999 is 32,000; and the projected number of new establishments in the year 2000 is 1,500.

How many existing miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments are likely to have play areas?

The miscellaneous amusement and recreation category includes a variety of establishments that may or may not have play areas. The establishments most likely to have play areas are day camps and picnic ground operations. No data is available to determine precisely how many of these existing establishments have play areas. We assume that 10 percent to 25 percent of the existing establishments have play areas, yielding 3,200 to 8,000 existing play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 210 to 530 play areas will be replaced annually at miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments. Because these establishments are engaged in providing a service that typically attracts young children, we assume that 50 percent are large, and 50 percent are medium.

How many new miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments with play areas will be constructed?

The proportion of new miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments with play areas is expected to be same as assumed for existing establishments. We estimate that approximately 150 to 380 new miscellaneous amusement and recreation establishments with play areas will be constructed in the year 2000, and that 50 percent will be large and 50 percent will be medium.

3.2.6 Public Schools

The number of facilities in this category is the total number of public schools, excluding those that are strictly secondary schools. Based on data collected by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 63,961 public elementary schools were in operation in 1995-96. (7) This figure includes middle schools beginning with grade 6 or below and with no grade higher than 8; and combined elementary and secondary schools beginning with grade 6 or below and ending with grade 9 or above. Based on projections developed by the NCES and reports on school construction, it is estimated that an average of 167 public elementary schools were constructed every year up to 1999, and that approximately 65,000 public elementary schools were in operation in 1999.

How many existing public schools are likely to have play areas?

The NCES does not collect data on how many public schools have play areas. Since public elementary schools provide educational services to children ages 5 through 12, they are the most likely to have play areas. We estimate that the number of existing public elementary schools with play areas ranges between 80 percent and100 percent, yielding 52,000 to 65,000 existing play areas.

Several school districts were contacted for the purpose of verifying our assumptions. The results of the inquiry should not be interpreted as representing a scientific or statistically valid sampling of public schools. However, to take a cross-section of school districts, we selected three each from rural, suburban, and urban areas. Each school district contacted was asked to provide the number of elementary and middle schools in the school district and the number of play areas in the district school system. Districts with relatively few schools, typically rural and suburban, easily provided this information. However, inquiries at districts with a significant level of facility infrastructure, such as Atlanta and San Diego, required the attention of their facility management staff. The staff members contacted had good general knowledge of the facilities, but due to the size of the systems, they generally referred to a facility maintenance report to determine the number of schools with play areas. Many of these schools are currently upgrading existing play areas to meet the safety and surfacing recommendations developed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the ASTM F1487-98 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use.

Table 3-5 presents the results of this inquiry of existing public schools. We believe that the findings of this inquiry reasonably support the assumptions we applied to this category.

Table 3-5. Public School Play Areas

State District Name Schools * Play Areas Percent
Rural
GA Washington County School System 5 4 80
NY Oneonta City School District 4 4 100
CA Orland Unified School District 3 2 67
Subtotal 12 10 83
Suburban
GA Douglas County School System 22 22 100
NY South Colonie School District 7 7 100
CA Cajon Valley Union Schools 27 27 100
Subtotal 56 56 100
Urban
GA Atlanta Public Schools 86 40 47
OH Cleveland Municipal School District 105 75 71
CA San Diego Unified Schools District 149 149 100
Subtotal 340 264 77.65
Total 408 330 80.88

* Elementary and middle schools

Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that approximately 3,450 to 4,300 existing play areas will be replaced annually at public schools. We assume that 20 percent are small, 70 percent are medium, and 10 percent are large. These assumptions are based on industry observations and marketing materials targeting public schools.

How many new public schools with play areas will be constructed?

The construction of new public schools is driven by two factors, growth in student population and the integrity of existing structures. Based on data from the NCES, enrollment in public elementary and middle schools is expected to increase by approximately 3.4 million students between 1995 and 2007. (8) According to the 1999 School Planning and Management Construction Report, (9) which is based on a 100 percent census of public school districts in the United States, the national median design number of students for new public elementary and middle schools is 700 per school (600 in elementary and 800 in middle). Dividing enrollment data by the median student population of a new public elementary and middle school, we estimate that 4,857 new public elementary and middle schools will be constructed between 1995 and 2007. Assuming that an equal proportion are built each year during this period, approximately 400 new public elementary and middle schools will be constructed in the year 2000.

The construction budget for new public schools rarely includes play areas. Play areas usually are added after construction by the local Parent -Teacher Association (PTA). The National PTA has no information on the play areas their local organizations may sponsor through fund raising efforts because they operate independently from the national headquarters. We assume that the proportion of new public elementary and middle schools with play areas is expected to be the same as for existing public schools. Based on the estimated number of new public elementary and middle schools constructed, we estimate the number of new public schools with play areas ranges from 320 to 400 annually in the year 2000. The size distribution is assumed to be the same as for existing public schools.

3.2.7 Private Schools

The number of facilities in this category (SIC code 8211) is the total number of private schools, excluding those that are strictly secondary institutions. Only nonsectarian schools are included because religious establishments are not covered by title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12187). Based on data collected by the NCES, 23,542 private elementary schools were in operation in 1993-94, of which 4,785 were nonsectarian. (10) This figure includes middle schools beginning with grade 6 or below, and with no grade higher than 8, and combined elementary and secondary schools beginning with grade 6 or below and ending with grade 9 or above. Based on historical data projections developed from the most recent survey of private schools, we estimate that an additional 41 private nonsectarian elementary schools were added every year. We estimate there were approximately 5,500 private nonsectarian elementary schools in 1999.

How many existing private nonsectarian schools are likely to have play areas?

We assume that the assumptions applied to public schools are valid for private nonsectarian schools, due to the limited data available. We estimate the number of existing private nonsectarian schools with play areas ranges from 4,400 to 5,500. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 290 to 370 play areas will be replaced annually at private nonsectarian schools. We assume 20 percent are small, 70 percent are medium, and 10 percent are large.

How many new private nonsectarian schools with play areas will be constructed?

Based on data from the NCES, enrollment in private elementary and middle schools is projected to increase by approximately 0.4 million students between 1995 and 2007. (11) During this period the proportion of students enrolled in private nonsectarian schools was relatively consistent, ranging between 16 and 17 percent of the total private school enrollment. Therefore, of the 0.4 million new students, we estimate that 5,500 of these students will enroll in private nonsectarian schools. Observing a downward trend in the average number of students per private nonsectarian school, we estimate that on average approximately 40 new private nonsectarian schools will be constructed each year.

We assume that the proportion of new private nonsectarian schools with play areas is expected to be the same as for existing private nonsectarian schools. Based on the estimated number of new private nonsectarian schools constructed, we estimate the number of new private nonsectarian schools with play areas ranges from 30 to 40 in the year 2000. The size distribution is assumed to be the same as for existing private nonsectarian schools.

3.2.8 Child Day Care Services

This category (SIC code 8351) includes establishments that care for infants or children, or provide prekindergarten education. These establishments typically care for preschool age children, but may care for older children when they are not in school. (12)

The Children's Foundation conducts an annual survey of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands which regulate child care centers through "licensure" or registration. The Children's Foundation defines a child care center for the purposes of the survey as a full or part-time care facility for groups of children in a non-residential setting. Licensing is defined as the granting of formal permission by a designated state or local agency to an individual or legal entity to operate a child care center. The state or local agency has the authority to ensure that health and safety standards are being met, set procedures for revoking a license, and provide appeal mechanisms. The purpose of licensing is to protect vulnerable consumers by setting a minimum floor for reasonably safe service. However, there is no uniform way in which the states regulate child care centers, preschools, nursery schools, and prekindergarten programs.

The 1999 Child Care Center Licensing Study reports that 102,458 regulated child care centers existed during the survey period of October 1998 through January 1999. (13) This data is limited by the fact that not all states report data consistently. Thus, the 1999 survey includes some data reported for 1998 (New Mexico). It should also be noted that child care centers affiliated with a religious institution are not covered by title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12187). Using this data overestimates the number of child care facilities potentially affected by the guidelines since the survey includes sectarian institutions. This overestimation may be partially counterbalanced by the fact that some states exempt religiously affiliated child care centers from licensing and they would not be included in the survey. The survey may also overstate the number of child care centers affected by the guidelines due to the inclusion of infant care centers serving children from birth to one year, and up to 18 months in some states.

How many existing child care centers are likely to have play areas?

The Children's Foundation does not collect data on how many existing child care centers have play areas. Since child care centers provide services to preschool age children and older children when they are not in school, we assume the proportion of existing child care centers with play areas ranges between 80 percent and 100 percent, yielding 92,000 to 102,000 existing play areas. We estimate that 60 percent are small, 30 percent are medium, and 10 percent are large. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that approximately 6,100 to 6,800 of existing play areas will be replaced annually at child care centers.

How many new child care centers with play areas will be constructed?

Data collected by the Children's Foundation for 1999 indicates a 3.4 percent increase in the number of child care centers over 1998. If this rate of growth continues, approximately 3,500 new child care centers will be constructed in the year 2000. We assume that the proportion of new child care centers with play areas is expected to be the same as for existing child care centers. We estimate the number of new child care centers with play areas ranges from 3,150 to 3,500 in the year 2000. The size distribution is estimated to be the same as for existing child care centers.

3.2.9 Civic, Social, and Fraternal Associations

This category (SIC code 8641) includes organizations such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, which are likely to have play areas. However, the category also includes booster clubs, citizen unions, university clubs, tenant associations, and others that are not likely to have play areas. Based on historical data from the Bureau of Census, we estimate 37,000 civic, social, and fraternal organizations will be in operation during 1999.

How many existing civic, social, and fraternal associations are likely to have play areas?

In addition to the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs, civic, social, and fraternal associations that serve as a center for community gatherings, such as a Moose Lodge or American Legion, may have play areas. However, due to the breadth of establishments covered by this category and their tendency to be more adult oriented, we assume that the majority do not have play areas. We estimate the number of existing civic, social, and fraternal associations with play areas ranges from 2 percent to 5 percent, yielding 740 to 1,900 existing play areas. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 50 to120 existing play areas will be replaced annually at civic, social, and fraternal associations. We assume that 80 percent are small and 20 percent are medium, since most of the establishments are not created to serve children and play areas are installed as a secondary response to family activities centered at the establishment.

How many new civic, social, and fraternal association facilities with play areas will be constructed?

The historical data for civic, social, and fraternal associations indicates a downward trend in the number of new establishments. Therefore, we do not expect that any new facilities with play areas will be constructed by these establishments.

3.2.10 Municipal and State Parks

Parks are provided as a public good by State, county, and municipal governments. The majority of public parks are provided free of charge. However, at certain state parks users may have to pay some type of entrance fee. In 1986, the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers conducted a survey of the number and types of state, regional, county, and municipal recreation areas. These areas include parks, forests, wildlife preserves, and other types of recreational areas. This 50-state survey found approximately 108,000 recreational areas in 1986. (14) Using their best professional judgement, officials at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) updated the 1986 data and estimated the number of recreation areas to have increased slightly to 111,000 in 1999.

How many municipal and state parks are likely to have play areas?

The NRPA data includes recreation areas that are likely to have play areas (e.g., parks) and recreation areas that are less likely to have play areas (e.g., wildlife reserves). The number of existing play areas in these recreation areas was estimated by reviewing state parks and recreation websites that have play areas on the selection criterion for searches. (15) Based on this review, we estimate the number of existing recreation areas with play areas ranges from 30 percent to 60 percent, yielding 33,000 to 67,000 existing play areas at municipal and state parks. Based on the assumed replacement rate, we estimate that 2,200 to 4,470 existing play areas will be replaced annually at municipal and state parks. We assume that 80 percent are large and 20 percent are medium.

How many new municipal and state parks with play areas will be constructed?

To estimate the number of newly constructed municipal and state parks, we divided the estimated increase in the number of recreation areas from 1986 to 1999 (3,000 areas) by the number of years (13 years), which yields approximately 200 newly constructed recreation areas per year. We assume that the proportion of newly constructed parks with play areas is the same as for existing parks. We estimate that the number of new municipal and state parks with play areas ranges from 60 to 120 in the year 2000. The size distribution is estimated to be the same as for existing parks.