Parks, especially large-scale multi-purpose parks, are economic engines. Using the former school property on Red Bank’s Dayton Boulevard for an epic park would pay huge dividends for the community. It would provide tangible environmental, aesthetic and recreation benefits to our city.
But such a park would also be a source of positive economic benefits. Studies have confirmed that proximity to a park setting is connected to increased economic benefits. These include:
Enhanced property values, not only for the immediate vicinity but for all of Red Bank.
Higher property values translate into increased municipal revenue.
A 12-acre park would certainly attract new homebuyers who are interested in a family-friendly community with an excellent quality of life. One study determined that 60 percent of home purchasers would choose a home close to parks and open space over one that was not.
Our epic park would position Red Bank to gain from the ongoing “retirement migration." Seniors will soon represent one in four Americans, and they want communities that provide leisure and recreation amenities. One study showed that the decision to relocate was driven by scenic beauty, recreational opportunities and mild climate.
In short, parks are a good financial investment for a community. Understanding the economic impacts of this park (as well as other Red Bank Parks and recreational facilities) will guide our community through a community planning process that will help decision makers better evaluate the creation and maintenance of all our parks.
When our neighboring city of Chattanooga committed to enhancing the overall quality of life by investing in parks, recreational areas, and greenspace, property values increased 127.5 percent from 1980 to 2002. Quality-of-life improvements in Chattanooga resulted in an increase in annual combined city and county property tax revenues of $592,000 from 1988 to 1996, an increase of 99 percent. (American Planning Association, City Parks Forum Briefing Paper).
As we move forward with a comprehensive planning process that will include parks, recreation, and greenspace, I will passionately advocate that parks are proven to be powerful tools for urban communities and local economies like Red Bank. As an early proponent of the movement that became known as Save Red Bank Central Park, I am committed to the full 12-acre parcel on Dayton Boulevard as a publicly-owned park and not be sold in a commercial transaction. Its value to Red Bank is greatest as an epic park with multiple uses for health, recreation and the enjoyment of nature.