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I'll provide an example of why a park can be considered an economic development opportunity.
Last year I held a bike race at our local park. it attracted 250 participants and about 150 spectators, mostly from outside my City. Each of these people probably did the following things:
1) Eat at least one meal at a restaurant. Figure $7 each = $3500
2) Filled their cars up. Figure 150 cars at $40 per fill up = $6000
3) Figure 80 rooms at hotels/motels used @ $50 = $4000
4) Supplies I needed for the event (prizes, signs, marking tape etc) = $2000
5) People visiting the local bike shop = $1500
5) Improvement of the image of the city I live in ???
(These figures are pretty accurate, I've travelled enough with bike races and been to enough to have a pretty good idea of peoples spending habits)
So for a one day event, with very little sponsorship I generated about $17 000 in economic spin off. Now figure what a provincial park, like Alconquin(sp) or even small conservation areas (Hilton Falls) puts into the local economy on a daily basis.
I will just reinforce what others have said. Parks and trails (its very important to link open spaces!) add incredible value. There is a great research paper on the Boulder open space which showed a direct relationship between property values and the home's proximity to trails. Well-maintained parks also demonstrate quite visibly (in a way that, say, a well-maintained sewerage system cannot) that a community cares. And that attracts folks.
PArks can be seen as economic resources. What a way!!
Also some new age planners may be actually converting these park like resources into figures( I mean dollars in their Cost Benefit Analyses). Its the way you look at the parks and also the way you present them to be.maybe its easier to convince some people this way. But what a way...
I've got a publication off of the APA website that states:
From 1856 to 1876 Fredrick Law Olmsted tracked the value fo property immediately adjacent to Central Park, in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. He found that over the 17 years there was a $209 million in crease in property valued of the property impacted by the park
In Amherst, Mass. Cluster housing with dedicated open space was found to appreciate at an annual rate of 22 percent, compared to a comparable conventional subdivision's rate of 19.5 percent. This translated in 1989 dollars to a difference of $17,100
You speak like one of those Economic planners PlannerbyDay.
But then this is the right forum.
But if that was the way even back in the mid 18 hundreds then there might be some good reason to it.
Not new age really. I take back my words guys.
The effect of Central Park in NYC is amazing.
Best thing anyone can do to answer this question is somehow get invited to a party in an apartment with a penthouse overlooking this park. Nothing like it, believe me.
Happened to me exactly once. I'll never forget looking out at all that greenery in the middle of one of the most built up places on the planet. Downright disorienting, and extraordinarily beautiful.
We'll take this outta the 1800's and into modern time. The same APA publications states:
Atlanta: after Centennial Olympic Park was built, adjacent condominium prices rose from $115 to $250 a square foot.. As noted on the Centennial Olympic Park website. "thousands of people who have made the move to downtown Atlanta have chosen Centennial Olympic Park as their front yard."
Boulder, CO: The presence of a greenbelt in a Boulder neighborhood was found to add approximatley $500,000 in property tax revenue annually.
Parks are a good thing for economic development, but they also bring intrigue. Case in point, at the International Spy Museum in DC, there is a picture of one of our parks that was commonly used by the traitor Hansan for one of his rendezvous points. I wonder if there is a tour of the DC area of the parks and buildings that have been known as drop points? If not, there is a new form of economic development built around parks.