Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis: Executive Summary
Parks provide quality of life, recreation, aesthetic and environmental benefits, but they also provide positive economic benefits: they enhance property values, attract corporations, bring in buyers, increase County tax revenues and draw tourists. Bottom line: Parks are good for business!
Friends of Westchester County Parks. (2012). Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis: Executive Summary. Mount Kisco, New York: Author.
Friends of Westchester County Parks, Inc. engaged PROS Consulting to provide an economic and fiscal impact study of the economic value of the park system. With more than 18,000 acres of parkland, 6 nature centers, 6 golf courses, 4 pools, 4 campgrounds, 200 plus miles of trails and boulevards, the Westchester County Center, an interpretive farm, a themed amusement park, and a myriad of other recreational amenities and programs, Westchester County’s Nationally Accredited park system is a significant reason to live, work, visit and have a business in the County.
When the County park system was originally conceived it was thought of partly as an economic development tool. Today we can now recognize, and for the first time, define, just how these parks have provided the County with measurable economic value.
Although not part of the calculated economic impact outlined above and in the body of this report, there are intrinsic and fiscal values in improved personal health factors cost prevention, environmental and fiscal benefits ascribed to the nearly 15,000 acres of open space from cleaner water and cleaner air.
Finally, there are significant positive fiscal impacts from keeping the 15,000 acres of land forever undeveloped, thereby avoiding the cost of infrastructure and municipal services that development of those properties would entail.
Major factors are enumerated in this study, such as tourism, operational and capital expenditures, increased property values and the consolidation of data from previous recent Economic Impact Studies for Playland Amusement Park and the Westchester County Center. (p 2)
Westchester County Parks, Recreation and Conservation (PRC) has created the following:
- $183 million annual economic impact on Westchester’s economy from PRC related facilities and services.
- Approximately 1,000 full time private job equivalents are created through the PRC system. This includes separate economic analysis completed by AECOM for Playland Amusement Park and the Westchester County Center.
- $350 million asset value of the County Park and Recreation system not counting land values.
- For every dollar invested in Westchester County parks and recreation facilities and operations, another $4.95 is spent in economic activity in the County.
- Increased property values nearer to County parks and trail heads.
- Lower general health care costs (approximately $250 million less than state and national averages).
- Tourism spending in parks exceeds $20 million annually.
- Concession services to the public in county parks exceed $18 million annually with $4 million and 88 full time job equivalents related to out-of county visitor spending.
- Impact on Land Values
- Revenues from Spending
- Direct Economic Impact
- The County parks help create an environment that is attractive for young people to grow their careers and personal lives, as well as deter “young professional flight” through the creation of amenities and events that are free or attractively priced. (p 1)