CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Here’s what the future of parks and recreation programs could look like in Coral Springs.

There could be more “spray pads.”

The city’s gymnasium could be expanded along with adding a senior center.

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New social spaces for teens and adults could be installed.  

A late afternoon-through-evening shuttle route could be created to get more people to Mullins, Cypress, and North Community parks.

And an “inclusive playfield” for many sports could be built to accommodate players with special needs.

These were among the recommendations a consulting firm presented to Coral Springs city commissioners last month as part of a larger project to plan out the future uses of the city’s parks and programs for the coming years.

The firm, Environmental Planning and Design, also presented city officials with new trends emerging in park recreation departments across the nation.

One in particular, according to the report: More Americans are going away from organized sports and programs to more “individualized experiences” such as adult fitness, wilderness adventure, and natural water sports.

Close to four million people visit the city’s 60 parks every year, and 1,150 teams use the parks for various sports, the report found. The cost of the consulting report was not immediately known.

For some commissioners, the findings weren’t surprising.

“People are aging in place,” Vice Mayor Joy Carter said. “We have to follow what the people want and need.”

She stressed that before the city considers expanding or adding more features to the parks and programs, the costs of maintaining those projects need to be factored in.

Mayor Scott Brook said future parks should have features attractive to people from different age groups. He likes the idea of children playing sports near senior citizens doing activities.

“Our motto is: ‘Everything Under the Sun.’ So I want to see everyone served under the sun,” he said.

In addition to the recommendations for future parks and programs, the consultants also surveyed park visitors and others to get their views on the offerings.

The findings? Many of those surveyed said the parks are generally clean and safe, but they aren’t thrilled with what is there, telling consultants:

- The programming is “stale.”

- Many families go “elsewhere to find their cool, fun, funky and memorable recreational experiences.”

- Social gathering spaces are very limited.

- People don’t just want parks to be places for competition and prefer more “focus on water play, nature and social spaces.”

City officials will use the information in the report to prepare their future plans for parks and programs. It’s not known yet when those plans will be completed.

To read the report, click here.