The Economic Benefits of Parks & Recreation

By: Porter County Parks & Recreation Last Updated: December 29, 2016

At Porter County Parks and Recreation we know and embrace the fact that our citizens deserve a good “return” on their parks investment. We know that well maintained parks and open space increase neighboring land values, provide increased revenue to local governments, improve tourism and attract high quality businesses. Ever since Frederick Law Olmsted proved that his $13 million Central Park project in New York City increased neighboring land values by $209 million in less than 20 years, it has been clear that parks, open spaces, and recreation areas provide significant increases to area land values.

In a groundbreaking 2000 article, John L. Crompton, a professor at Texas A&M University who has published extensive research on parks and recreation stated “[T]he real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a larger amount for a property located close to parks and open space areas than for a home that does not offer this amenity.” This increase in land values generates additional revenue for governments like Porter County through regular property tax assessments. Additionally, parks and recreation facilities encourage developers to conserve and protect land for new subdivisions and residential sites.

Individuals and families are not the only ones who place a high value on parks and recreation spaces. Businesses as well consistently rank outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions as reasons that they will move a facility or open a new one. The real estate industry calls livability “a litmus test for determining the strength of the real estate investment market. … If people want to live in a place, companies, stores, hotels, and apartments will follow” (ERE Yarmouth and Real Estate Research Corp, 1998).

Parks and recreation also generate tourism dollars. Municipal attractions support these facilities and help to convince visitors to stay an extra night or two and continue to spend their money at our hotels, restaurants, shops and stores. According to the Trust for Public Land, “Organized events held in public parks-arts festivals, athletic events, food festivals, musical and theatrical events-often bring substantial positive economic impacts to their communities, filling hotel rooms and restaurants and bringing customers to local stores. (2006)”

Valerie Rosenblum, President of Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors said, “Parks, no matter the size, are key in providing recreational, aesthetic and environmental benefits to our communities. They’ve been proven to increase property values and rank high in the minds of homebuyers when deciding where to start their families, relocate because of job responsibilities or simply retire and begin enjoying life’s rewards. …It’s easy to see that our parks have been a key component as to why Porter County ‘leads the pack’ of Northwest Indiana counties in population growth over the past 20+ years – and is expected to do so into the future.”

For all of these reasons and many more that I hope to share with you all throughout this year, I hope you continue to support Parks and Recreation in Porter County.