CRESTVIEW—Several residents have raised concerns for area parks and recreation. Complaints have ranged from a lack of playgrounds to insufficient adult sports leagues.

Crestview operates almost 30 facilities, ranging from ball fields to rec centers to basketball courts, according to the city’s latest budget report. The report notes about 2,505 youths and 950 adults are expected to use the facilities this year.

Mayor David Cadle said the city lacks the number of fields and sites for athletic programs. He pointed to limited space in the city and the area’s terrain as shortcomings. Several areas that have space for parks or ball fields are not geologically fit for such facilities. Usable lands outside Crestview would need to be annexed before the city could develop parks.

Cadle said annexation is difficult because it requires residents in other areas to agree to pay city taxes with little change in services already available to them.

One solution Crestview has instituted is a requirement that all incoming residential developments build an on-site playground.

The city has received state grants in the past for park development, but none recently. Cadle attributed that to a poor economic environment nationally and statewide. However, he stated both state and city economic situations have greatly improved compared to years past.

In its 2017 annual budget, Crestview committed $627,818 to parks and recreation — roughly 3.86 percent of its overall budget. While that figure seems low, it’s actually higher than average cities. Resources for the Future, an organization that conducts research and analysis regarding natural resources and the environment, published a study in 2009 that sampled city park practices in 75 cities of various sizes. The study found from 1991-2006, cities spent about 2 percent of annual budgets on parks.

Despite the spending, some residents believe it’s not enough.

Tiffany Singhisen moved to the area about six months ago with her husband and three children ages 3, 4 and 10. She said she’s struggled to find places to take her kids to play and the places she has found are “pitiful.”

Singhisen said crews were cleaning Twin Hills Park after recent storms, but added that standard maintenance often goes undone. She said the parks she’s been to have been dirty and unsafe, and she cited the presence of “sketchy people hanging around” playgrounds.

Other residents took to social media to voice their opinions about Crestview's parks.

David Patterson, a local CrossFit and tennis instructor, leads a running group and has three children in city league sports. He said Crestview needs to “better utilize the current spaces we have” and suggested evening or nighttime adult sports leagues.

Stacey Monk and Michael Bolen said on social media that the area needs more spaces for children, including teenagers.

The city has six parks and recreation employees, according to the 2017 budget. That number has remained relatively unchanged for several years.

While Crestview might lack plans for new parks, the department’s 2017 budget includes $131,600 for “capital outlay,” an expenditure excluded in the last four budgets. Capital outlay is money used to repair, maintain or acquire assets.

Attempts to contact Crestview’s public services director and associate director were unsuccessful. George Hillsman, the parks and recreation supervisor, could not comment on budgeting.