Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2018


Parks & Recreation Supports More Than 1.1 Million Jobs

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Club Pilates Grows With New Training Facility - April 2018

IHRSA Sees Positive Growth for Fitness Pros - April 2018

Denver's Freedom Park Wins Grant for Public Art - March 2018

NSPF, Counsilman-Hunsaker Partner to Create App for Aquatic Facility Managers - March 2018

More Than 330 Million Recreation Visits Recorded in 2017 for National Park System - March 2018

Study Shows Economic Benefits of the Great Outdoors - March 2018

Parks for Inclusion Initiative Aims to Expand Reach to All Americans - February 2018

SHAPE America, NFL & Partners Collaborate on Training for Health & P.E. Educators - February 2018

CPSC Offers $1.1 Million in Pool Safely Grants - February 2018

Bipartisan PHIT Act Could Boost America's Wellness - February 2018

China Plant Shutdowns May Affect Pool Operations & Budgets - January 2018

Arlington County 'Pulls Together' to Remove Invasive Plants - January 2018

Youth Sports Participation Increases for Underserved Kids - January 2018

Study: Physical Activity Boosts Learning Time - January 2018

Preventing Germs in Gyms: What Works? - December 2017

Study: Laws Reduce Recurrent Concussions - December 2017

Grants Awarded for Urban Water & Wildlife Habitat Restoration - December 2017

APSP University Launches New Certification Course - November 2017

New Series Aims to Empower Students With Healthy Habits - November 2017

US Club Soccer Puts Focus on Player Safety - November 2017

New Initiative Aims to Ensure All Have Access to Parks & Rec - November 2017

L.A. Parks Earn Mostly Positive Report Card - October 2017

Health Club Memberships Up, Led by Youth & Older Adults - October 2017

Dallas Park Recognized With ASLA Award - October 2017

Adult Obesity Rates Leveling Off - October 2017

Improving Kids' Wellness—In the Classroom - October 2017

Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Development Continues - September 2017

Louisville Splash 'n' Dash 5K Raises $35,000+ for Norton Children's Hospital - September 2017

Philadelphia Eagles Go Green - September 2017

High School Sports Participation Up, Nearing 8 Million - September 2017

Inside South Side High School's Redevelopment - August 2017

New Health Research Conducted at Special Olympics - August 2017

Protect Players From Heat - August 2017

Tackling the Active Play Deficit - August 2017

Botanical Garden Partners With Businesses on Health - July 2017

Survey Examines Parents' View of Play - July 2017

Kids Swim Free in Tucson This Summer - July 2017

Building Communities to Encourage Physical Activity - June 2017

California Campus Converts Courts to Golf Practice Space - June 2017

Where Are the Nation's Top City Park Systems? - June 2017

KaBOOM! Brings Play to Military Kids - May 2017

USA Basketball Open Court Sessions Get Youths Into the Game - May 2017

Educators Push Legislators to Support Health & Physical Education Programs - May 2017

NFHS Revises Rules for Competitive Spirit Squads - May 2017

Pool & Spa Professionals Fight Immigration Restrictions - April 2017

Grants Available to Boost Dog Parks - April 2017

New Aquatic Management Program Aims to Improve Safety, Efficiency - April 2017

16 Cities Nationwide to Receive Park Improvement Funding - April 2017

By Chandler Garland

It's long been known that public parks add significant value to their communities in terms of conservation, health and wellness, and social equity. People and communities all over the United States benefit directly from their local park and recreation agencies, which provide open spaces for exercise, gathering places, locations for community sports and a place to reconnect with nature. But what many may not know is that public parks are also machines of economic activity.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently issued a report describing the economic impact of our nation's public parks. The NRPA found that, in 2015 alone, public parks generated more than $154 billion in U.S. economic activity and supported more than 1.1 million jobs that boosted labor income by $55 billion through operations and capital spending.

Dr. Terry Clower, lead investigator for the study, observed: "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 added that quality of life and the availability of recreation amenities is increasingly important for attracting and retaining workers and employers, which extends the economic impact of park and recreation spending beyond what is captured in the current study.

More specifically, operations spending by parks and recreation agencies generated nearly $91 billion in total economic activity during 2015. This boosted real gross domestic product (GDP) by $49 billion and supported more than 732,000 jobs, which accounted for nearly $34 billion in salaries, wages and benefits across the nation. These agencies also invested an estimated $23 billion on capital programs, leading to an additional $64 billion in economic activity, a contribution of $32 billion to GDP, $21 billion in labor-related income and nearly 378,000 jobs.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the report also includes a state-level analysis that highlights the economic impact of local parks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 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

"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."


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