Big Infusion of Funds Swings Parks and Recreation Agencies Up Toward Increased Spending on Goods, Services, Solutions

State and local governments are preparing for Summer 2021. Although fun at the park, recreation, get-togethers, and many forms of enjoyment were severely limited in 2020, good news and changes are ahead.

Purchases of goods, services, and solutions by local and state Parks and Recreation departments and other applicable agencies, hit the slides in 2020. Understandable, since the COVID pandemic discouraged millions from going to public parks and participating in the departments’ programs. Fewer visitors and participants meant less need to buy equipment, accessories, amenities, and extras.

However, spending also dropped because visitor-fee collections shriveled, which left Parks and Recreation and other agencies short on funds. Making matters worse, the lockdowns that were ordered to stop the spread of the coronavirus weakened the economy and caused tax revenues to dry up. Parks and Recreation-related departments were forced to tighten their belts as a result.

In early January, the National Recreation and Park Association predicted its members would suffer budget cuts of up to 25 percent during the current fiscal year unless the federal government stepped in immediately and did something.

Well, it did. Just two months later, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) began directing hundreds of billions of dollars in direct aid to states, counties, and cities. A hefty portion of those funds went to replenishing the budgets of Parks and Recreation agencies.

Signs of renewed life

Now, weeks later, we at BidPrime are seeing a swift and significant increase in the number of bids/solicitations issued by Parks and Recreation departments for equipment, services, solutions, etc...

For example, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reporting that visitors are flocking back to its state parks and trails now that the pandemic is receding and the lockdowns lifting. The Outdoor Industry Association says the same thing is happening all across the U.S.

Accordingly, these parks and recreation systems are preparing to pick up where they left off at the beginning of 2020 by once again offering such activities as T-ball, softball, tennis, skating, skateboarding, golf, soccer, basketball, flag football, dodgeball, kickball, rugby, and even pickleball (which, in case you didn’t know, is a mashup of badminton, table tennis, and tennis but played with a wiffle ball).

In addition to the gear necessary to play these and other sports, cities and states will need to buy accessories including equipment bags and storage systems, scorecards, scoreboards, area lighting, sound systems, uniforms, spectator seating, safety fencing, photography and videography services, first-aid supplies, trophies, ribbons, groundskeeping materials, snack-bar items, ticket booths, locker rooms, portable toilets, and more.

Emerging trends

The National Recreation and Park Association expects at least ten large U.S. cities this year will narrow some of their broad boulevards and designate the reclaimed street space as linear parks. In other words, they’ll dig up the asphalt and replace it with miles of grass, trees, water features, sprinkler systems, walking trails, and bike paths.

Cities that can’t spare any of their thoroughfare lanes for this purpose might instead resort to acquiring abandoned brick-and-mortar malls and shuttered big-box stores, then convert them into indoor playgrounds, skateparks, and farmers markets, the association theorizes.

Parks and Recreation departments have become increasingly reliant on technology. That won’t change in the months ahead, says the National Recreation and Park Association, which predicts many of its members will be looking to improve Wi-Fi services for visitors and to deploy more and better charging stations for the devices those guests carry with them. The association also sees increased demand for robotic cleaning systems, self-maintained toilets, line-painting vehicles, autonomous mowing equipment, and semi-autonomous security drones.

And then there’s data. Parks and Recreation departments now collect a lot of data, starting with the forms filled out by parents to sign up their child for team sports and by hikers wanting to pitch a tent under the stars as they roam the trails. Hunting and fishing license applications provide yet more data, as do the inputs from credit-card readers, biometric scans, and facial-recognition software.

All of this data needs to be organized, analyzed, and kept safe from breaches. Parks and Recreation departments will be turning to government vendors as never before for the products, services, and solutions to meet those needs.

Sample Active Bids/RFPs

Parks and Recreation

BidPrime offers the tools you need

If these materializing trends play out as observers expect, utilizing the services of BidPrime can help solidly position you for success by enabling you to easily find, pursue, and win opportunities in parks and recreation.

More than ever, timing is critical. We predict that decision makers in the Parks and Recreation sector will be issuing bids / RFPs with quick turnaround times. Vendors and contractors won’t have a lot of time to construct and submit responses, but agencies will still expect that bid packages be accurate and complete. Most importantly, they want your bids to be fully responsive to the requests as published. Your chance of impressing them increases, if you’re using BidPrime. BidPrime has a well earned reputation as the most comprehensive bid services solution available and in providing bids, RFPs, and associated documents to clients in real-time.

Try BidPrime by quickly signing up for a free, no obligation trial. Discover what an invaluable asset it can be to you. For more information, please visit our website or call us at (888) 808-5356.

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