Plymouth's population of children and teens was 29% of the total population in 2000, and less than 25% in 2017. The population of residents over age 50 has almost doubled. Investment in city amenities and athletic facilities should reflect that shift.
I think there is a more productive way to consider the data than that chosen by HGA. The age groupings above are based on similarity of facilities usage:
o to 5 - Toddlers, who are heavily supervised and use playgrounds and open play.
5 to 14 - Some playgrounds and open play. Organized youth sports with heavy usage of athletic fields and gyms.
15 to 19 - Fewer participants in high school sports. Some organized youth sports requiring athletic fields and gyms.
20 to 24 - Adult exercise options. Walking, weights, classes, some open gym.
25 to 49 - Parents who attend youth and toddler functions; adult exercise options
50 to 74 - Parents of older teens and empty nesters. Lower impact and less stressful adult exercise options. This is a prime demographic for golf, as more time becomes available and people seek lower impact exercise.
75+ - Low impact, low stress adult exercise.
All age categories are flat to declining in population, except the 0 to 5 and over 50 categories. In 2000 there were twice as many 25 to 49 year olds as 50 to 74 year olds, by 2017 the two segments were almost equal. In 2017 the 75+ segment was 2.5 times what it was in 2000.
"In the Comprehensive Plan, the city has expressed a focus on the senior demographic. ... In the year 2000 there were 7300 people living in Plymouth who were over the age of 60. Now that number has more than doubled, to 16,600 of us."
The Plymouth Creek Center Feasibility Study dated May 26, 2017 said the following about the city's demographics:
"The median age of residents in the City of Plymouth is significantly greater than that of the state of Minnesota as a whole. The age distribution of residents points to a more even distribution of all age categories, including new families, millenials, mid-career workers, baby boomers, retirees, and seniors. The facility should appeal to all age groups and include components that all segments of the population can utilize. Higher levels of income point to Plymouth residents’ ability to pay for recreational services and facilities."
PCC Feasibility Study page 10
These numbers suggest two things with respect to Park & Rec amenities:
- The population that is the biggest users of athletic fields and play fields has been relately flat, suggesting that population growth will not drive the need for more facilities. Although the 0 to 5 category increased in 2017 above the 2000 level, a boomlet, if any, will likely be short lived as the city becomes fully built out. Existing neighborhoods yield fewer children than do new neighborhoods.
The greatest demand for age appropriate facilities will be in the over 50 category. The population within that demographic will continue to grow as younger residents decide to continue the trend of staying in their homes and "retiring in place". Golf is an excellent sport for low impact exercise and social interaction.