In 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority began a review of its fee-based revenue model with the objective of identifying a new path forward toward increasing equity of access to county park and recreation programming. After an 18-month effort with consultant HR&A, an initial report of the findings and proposed recommendations is available for initial comments and feedback.
Reliance on fees means that some of FCPA’s public recreation programs charge more than other local jurisdictions, and more than many county residents can afford, according to the report.
As a result, FCPA’s recreation participation skews wealthier and whiter than both the population of Fairfax County and participation in General Fund programs like RecPac.
“The Park Authority is firmly committed towards enhancing equity in all aspects of our park system,” said Fairfax County Park Authority Executive Director Jai Cole. The Park Authority seeks to ensure access is accessible and affordable to all residents.
The Park Authority is seeking public comment and reaction to the 2024 Equity Study. The feedback will play a valuable role in developing next steps toward greater equity in the Fairfax County park system.
Initial comments may be submitted online or via U.S. mail now through Friday, March 1. Instructions for participating are available at https://engage.fairfaxcounty.gov/park-equity-study
The Park Authority will use the results of the initial comment period to plan robust community outreach likely to run through summer. The program will include public meetings and a survey to obtain additional understanding regarding how residents perceive park programs and serve to identify barriers to participation.