Local Parks Generate More Than $154 Billion In U.S. Economic Activity

Friday, March 9, 2018

A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association demonstrates the economic impact of the nation’s local parks. According to the report, local parks generated more than $154 billion in U.S. economic activity and supported more than 1.1 million jobs in 2015 from their operations and capital spending alone. 

Developed in partnership with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the report also includes a state-level analysis that highlights the economic impact of local parks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

From this report the economic impact of area states were: 
North Carolina $2.7 billion
Georgia $2.4 billion
Tennessee $1.5 billion 
Alabama $945 million  

“Parks provide tremendous health and environmental benefits; however, they are also powerful engines of economic activity,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “This report demonstrates why policymakers and elected officials at all levels of government should prioritize park and recreation funding in communities everywhere. The impact of these investments is huge.”  

Dr. Terry Clower, lead investigator for the study, said, “Local and regional park systems are growing in economic importance, not only as generators of jobs and local business opportunity, but as major contributors to local quality of life.” Dr. Clower further notes that quality of life and the availability of recreation amenities is increasingly important for attracting and retaining workers and employers, which extends the economic impacts of park and recreation spending beyond what is captured in the current study. 

The results of this report will be announced at the IPL Mayor’s Lunch for Parks in Indianapolis, In. on Thursday. Organized by the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the event, which is attended by central Indiana corporate, community and city leaders, will feature keynote speaker Indianapolis Mayor, Joe Hogsett, who is a champion for local parks. 

The 2017 NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey found 92 percent of Americans agree parks and recreation are important local government services (comparable to police/fire/schools/transportation). Moreover, 85 percent of Americans seek high-quality park and recreation amenities when choosing a new place to live. To access the survey results, click here

To access the report, visit www.nrpa.org/ParkEconReport. To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.   

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