Study Finds Metroparks Generates Tens of Millions in Economic Benefits
According to a new report released today by The Trust for Public Land, Metroparks Toledo generates tens of millions of dollars in economic benefits each year. The report shows that the Metroparks are key economic drivers in Lucas County.
The report finds that the Metroparks Toledo system provides seven categories of major economic benefits by
- attracting tourists
- enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation
- providing healthcare cost savings for residents
- reducing stormwater management costs
- cleaning the air
- enhancing property value
- and boosting economic development
The report was prepared for Metroparks Toledo by economists at The Trust for Public Land.
“We partnered with Trust for Public Land because of its expertise in unearthing the true value of parks to communities,” said Scott J. Savage, president of the Board of Park Commissioners. “We have always had a good sense of the intrinsic value of the Metroparks, but quantifying that value is useful to us to ensure that we are maximizing the return on our taxpayers’ investment.”
“This new information will be tremendously useful to us,” added Dave Zenk, executive director of Metroparks Toledo. “One of our strategic objectives is to do a better job of telling our story, and the value that conservation brings to our region is an important part of that story.”
“We also take great pride in our ability to leverage the local tax dollars we steward to garner additional funding in the form of private and grant dollars,” Zenk added. ”Over the last 10 years, Metroparks has been awarded almost $100 million in external support to assist with land acquisition, natural resource restoration initiatives, youth engagement and construction projects. The data in this report will only strengthen our ability to continue reaching out to donors and granting agencies to do even more for the region”
The Trust for Public Land has measured the economic benefits of parks and trails in dozens of communities across the country from Beaufort County, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California.
According to Jennifer Plowden, a senior conservation economist at The Trust for Public Land and the report’s lead author, “Our research clearly demonstrates that the community’s investments in Metroparks Toledo pay significant dividends to local residents, businesses and the Lucas County community at large. We hope that this research will not only encourage government officials in Toledo to continue to invest in parks, but also demonstrate to similarly-sized communities across the country just how valuable parks can be.”
The study finds that Metroparks Toledo:
- Attracts visitors who spend $59.5 million annually in the local economy
- Provides a $27.5 million benefit for access to recreational opportunities.
- Increases residents’ levels of physical activity. The average adult saves $1,230 per year on health care costs by being physically active in the park system, and these savings are double for seniors. In total, residents save $12.5 million in health care costs each year.
- Reduces stormwater management costs by $5.50 million annually and lowers air pollution control costs by $1.46 million a year.
- Raises the value of nearby residential properties by $40.8 million and increases property tax revenues by $1.13 million a year.
- Propels economic development, by enhancing quality of life and bolstering the recreation economy, which consists of at least 22 sporting goods stores that support 80 jobs and generate $18.0 million in sales.
"We believe that everyone deserves access to a quality park, and this report demonstrates just how powerful parks are," said Shanelle Smith, Ohio State Director of The Trust for Public Land "Parks across the country have numerous benefits for communities including providing a place to exercise, opportunities for neighbors to gather, and added climate resiliency. As this report demonstrates, parks are also exceptional economic drivers. We will continue to work with partners across Ohio to ensure that everyone in our state has access to everything parks have to offer."
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.