A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) demonstrates the vast economic impact of our nation’s local parks. According to the report, operations and capital spending by Ohio local parks was responsible for $3,456,029,725 in economic activity and supported 30,005 jobs.
Developed in partnership with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the report shows that nationally local parks generate more than $154 billion in economic activity and support more than 1.1 million jobs from the operations and capital spending in 2015. The top 10 states with the highest economic impact in 2015 were:
- California — $15.9 billion
- Illinois — $10.6 billion
- Texas — $7.7 billion
- Florida — $7.2 billion
- New York — $5.2 billion
- Colorado — $4.0 billion
- Ohio — $3.4 billion
- Virginia — $3.2 billion
- North Carolina — $2.7 billion
- Washington — $2.6 billion
“This report demonstrates the vast economic impact of local parks nationwide and for Ohio to be in the top 10 is very exciting,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director at Mill Creek MetroParks. “Our park system continues to strive towards its mission of providing park, recreational, educational, and open space facilities of regional significance.
“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, observes: “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.” 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.
Public support for parks and recreation is strong. 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.