Actual Benefits of Parks and Recreation
Check out the great webpage, link below, that outlines the
benefits of Parks and Recreation in a Community.
"The Benefits of Local Recreation and Park Services - A Nationwide Study of the Perceptions of the American Public"
In a 1992 nationwide study conducted at Pennsylvania State University, researchers compiled a listing of the benefits of local recreation and park services as perceived by the American public.
Participants in the study could be divided into two groups: users of local recreation and park services and non-users. Surprisingly, 71% of non-users said they received some benefit from their communities' parks and recreational services.
Benefits identified by non-users were as follows:
* Keeping kids off the streets
* Keeping kids occupied
* Community awareness
* Giving kids a place to go
* Feeling good because of being there
* Exercise, fitness & conditioning
* Good for kids
* Kids' enjoyment
* Having a place to go
Individual and family benefits identified by users of local parks and recreation services:
* Personal - 42%
* Social - 38%
* Facility/Activity - 12%
* Environmental - 6%
* Economic - 2%
* Personal Benefits:
o Exercise, fitness & conditioning
o Fun and entertainment
o Learning and education
* Social Benefits:
o Getting to know people
o Group participation
o Interaction of adults and kids
o Community awareness
o Team spirit
* Facility Benefits:
o Having instructional classes
o The joy of playing
o A place to go
o A place for recreation
o Exposure to arts
o Watching organized sports
* Environmental Benefits:
o Fresh air
o A place to be outdoors
* Economic Benefits:
Benefits ranked by recreation and parks professionals in order of importance:
* Basic services to poorer residents
* Protection of natural environment
* Civic identity and pride
* Community visual appeal and function
* Develops strong communities
* Percent of population using regularly
* Individual growth and development
* Avoidance of costly damage due to mismanagement of the ecological system
* Prevents social problems
* Reduces health problems and costs
* Integrates disabled, disadvantaged and socially alienated
* Job creation
* Percent of population who might use
* Assists tourist industry
* Attracts industry
* Prepares individual to cooperate with others
* Increases property values and tax revenues
* Opportunities for underemployed
* Desire to replace volunteer effort
* Saves property owner expense
* Stimulates leisure retail industry
Conclusions of the Study
* The vast majority of the American public uses local recreation and park services.
* Park and playground use is the most common use.
* Park and recreational service use continues throughout the life cycle. Recreational participation declines with age, but park use does not. In fact, people between the ages of 65 and 74 use local parks more frequently than any other age group from those 15 and older.
* The majority of people that do not use parks and recreational services still perceive substantial benefit from them.
* Sixty percent of the study's respondents perceive a "great deal" of community benefit from such services.
* Seventy-five percent of respondents said that "local recreation and park services are worth $45.00 or more per member of their household" per year.
* Local parks and recreation are associated with a sense of community. Community level benefits are considered more important than individual or household level benefits.
"The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space - How Land Conservation Helps Communities Grow Smart and Protect the Bottom Line"
* Growing Smart
o Development actually costs towns more than it gives because schools, streets, police officers, and other necessary municipal services drain more than they are required to pay in taxes.
o Open space preservation helps communities grow smart, preventing the higher costs of unplanned development.
o Open space reduces pressure to construct on valuable farmland and natural areas on the urban fringe.
o A community must decide which lands to protect for recreation, community character, the conservation of natural resources, and open space. This in turn determines where compact development will occur.
o The state of New Jersey leads the way in open space preservation. $1.4 billion has been generated by New Jersey's Green Acres land acquisition program in 34 years with $1 billion more expected to protect another 1 million acres which is 50% of New Jersey's remaining open space.
* Attracting Investment
o Parks and open space create a high quality of life that attracts tax-paying businesses and residents to communities.
o Corporate CEOs say that employee quality of life is the third most important factor in locating a new business.
o Small company owners say recreation, parks, and open space are the highest priority in choosing a new location for their business.
o Arizona's "outdoor lifestyle and recreation opportunities" were cited as the reason for the location or expansion of 70 firms in that state.
o In Salem, Oregon, land next to a greenbelt was found to be worth approximately $1,200 per acre more than land just 1,000 feet away.
o In Oakland, California, a 3 mile greenbelt around a lake at the city's center added $41 million to the surrounding area's property values.
o Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, increases the value of nearby property from $500 million to $1 billion while generating $5-$10 million in annual property taxes.
o Across the U.S., access to parks and open spaces has become a measure of community wealth - a tool for attracting businesses and residents by guaranteeing quality of life and economic health.
* Revitalizing Cities
o Urban parks, gardens, and recreational open space stimulate commercial growth and promote inner-city revitalization.
* Boosting Tourism
o Open space boosts local economies by attracting tourists and supporting outdoor recreation.
o Across the U.S., parks, rivers, scenic lands, wildlife areas, and open space help to support the $502 billion tourism industry.
o According to the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, outdoor recreation generated at least $40 billion in 1996, creating 768,000 full-time jobs and $13 billion in annual wages.
o Because tourists cite natural beauty and quality of view to be the most important criteria in selecting a destination, many communities are now striving to protect scenic views and vistas by moving utility wires underground and protecting trees and historic buildings.
o In 1993, the National Park Service estimated that national park visitors contributed more than $10 billion in direct and indirect benefits to local economies.
o According to the National Park Service, the tourism/leisure industry will soon become the leading U.S. industry of any kind at its present rate of growth.
o Trail such as the MKT and Katy Trails in Columbia that have been built along former railroad corridors stimulate tourism. The federal government has invested $300 million in recent years for more than 9,500 miles of rail trails in 48 states. It has paid off in communities similar to Columbia. In Iowa, Florida, and California, trails contributed between $1.2 million and $1.9 million each year to host communities.
o Wildlife enthusiasts visiting our nation's parks also contribute significantly to the economy. Sport fishing generated $108.4 billion in 1996, supporting 1.2 million jobs. Sport fishing produced $2.4 billion in state taxes (nearly 1% of all state tax receipts) and $3.1 billion in federal income taxes. People interested in birds and wildlife photography contributed another $85.4 billion to the U.S. economy
* Safeguarding the Environment
o Open space conservation is often the cheapest way to safeguard drinking water, clean the air, and achieve other environmental goals.
o One acre of wetland is estimated to generate $150,000 to $200,000 in economic benefits.
o Forested lands control erosion, help clean the air of pollutants, absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses, help shelter our houses from heat and wind.
o Wetlands serve as wildlife habitat, absorb storm and flood water, and reduce pollutant and sediment loads in watershed runoff. Without wetlands, society would have to pay for these services. With wetlands, they are free.
The Benefits of Aquatics
Each summer, parks and recreation professionals unlock the gates to community pools, hiring lifeguards and preparing programs. Running aquatic facilities can be hard work, but for residents, summer, especially, marks the beginning of warm days relaxing on the pool deck, pool parties, and swim teams. What is the appeal of these crystal clear waters? Research indicates that there is more participation in aquatic based recreation and sport than any other activity. Why? What does an aquatic facility really mean to a community? In essence, what are the benefits?
* Improves posture, flexibility, muscular endurance, strength and balance.
* Stimulates circulation.
* Creates muscle tone.
* Promotes proper breathing.
* Rehabilitates under-used or healing muscles (aquatic therapy).
* Improves one's ability to control and maintain a healthy weight.
* Helps to combat the aging process.
* Workouts can be tailored to fit the needs of the individual.
* Its low impact...the water makes the body almost weightless, greatly diminishing the impact on joints.
* Great cardiovascular workout (swimming has a calorie-burning potential of 350-420 calories per hour).
* Uses almost all the major muscle groups, and places a vigorous demand on your heart and lungs.
* For some disabled and elderly persons gives a sense of freedom as they can freely move around in the water and be upright in a standing position
* Lots of laughs and fun while getting a great workout!
* Establishes good friendships through water classes.
* Enjoyable even when working hard.
* A sport that is safe for all ages, at all fitness levels.
* Encourages a positive attitude, since one notices oneself feeling so good after workouts.
* Heightened sense of well-being.
* Increased energy level.
* Stress reducer.
* Soothes the mind and body.
Benefits to Youth - Opportunities for:
* Increasing self esteem through the development of aquatic skills.
* Developing healthy lifestyles.
* Participation in competitive aquatic programs that help youth set high expectations for achievement.
* Hours and hours of constructive use of time for youth of all ages.
* Employment options for local teens.
Benefits of Aquatic Facilities:
* Revenue generation.
* Revive local economy.
* Gives kids a place to go and entertain themselves.
* Tourism booster.
* Boost property values.
* Attracts businesses and their employees.
* A place to relax.
* Brings families together.
* Wholesome, affordable, family entertainment.
Benefits of Aquatic Programs:
* Swimming - a skill for life!
* Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths for youths and adults. Swimming lessons teach safety awareness, which may prevent the loss of life. Supervision is still required, but being proficient in the water by teaching skills and safety is a primary benefit of quality swim lessons.
Click here for the link to the Columbia, MO webpage
Parks and Recreation
the benefits are endless!
(from the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association website: www.massrpa.org )
BE HAPPIER -- FEEL GREAT!
Practiced in clinical, residential and community settings, the profession of therapeutic recreation uses treatment, education, and recreation services to help people with illnesses, disabilities and other conditions to develop and use their leisure to enhance their health, independence and well being.
Outdoor adventure activities for people with limited physical ability give participants feelings of success and improved feelings of confidence.
There is no greater opportunity for people to experience self-actualization and the spiritual renewal, creative expression, discovery and stimulation than leisure offers.
BUILD FAMILY UNITY
Family bonds are improved by the sharing of leisure time. Families that recreate together tend to be closer, more cohesive and improve their chances of staying together. This is true with both parent-child relationships and married couples.
Families are the cornerstone in promoting well-being and healthy development in children.
TAKE CARE OF LATCH KEY CHILDREN -- EDUCATE CHILDREN AND ADULTS -- PROVIDE CHILD CARE
Recent studies show disturbing trends about children who regularly come home to an empty house: higher than average drop out rate, drug abuse, truancy and depression.
Good news for working parents! Many communities’ parks and recreation agencies provide after school and summer child care.
In Fort Myers, Florida, 80% of the adolescents who enrolled and participated in the STARS (Success Through Academics and Recreational Support) program improved their grades.
CONTROL WEIGHT, LOOK BETTER, BUILD STRONG BODIES
Sports participants had significantly lower body mass index values, lower blood pressures, and lower resting pulse rates.
The physically fit person is less prone to injury, and is less likely to experience depression.
DIMINISH CHANCE OF DISEASE -- DECREASE INSURANCE PREMIUMS -- LIVE LONGER!
Childhood participation in organized fitness and sports programs helps attain higher bone density establishing a strong health base to combat osteoporosis in later life.
An estimated 66,000 U.S. deaths from coronary heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes could be prevented annually if one half of the sedentary people became active on a regular basis.
When young people feel good about themselves they operate more effectively and productively in our communities, families and schools. Adventure programs teach the importance of trust, appropriate risk taking, supportive social interaction and personal challenge while creating valuable life long memories.
Leaders are trained, developed and nurtured through leisure organizations such as teen clubs, camps and programs.
REDUCE STRESS -- RELAX!
In Nationwide polls, 89% of all Americans report that they often experience high levels of stress and 59% claimed that they feel great stress at least once a week. Positive and enjoyable recreation experiences can decrease stress and psychological tensions. Leisure activities provide people with the opportunity to expel energy and emotion not being released in other aspects of their lives. Psychologists found that activities such as a walk in the woods gave a boost to the immune system that lasted two or three days. Each additional mile walked or run by a sedentary person would give him or her an extra 21 minutes of life. According to the Gallup Poll for American Health, Americans who exercised regularly were 2.5 times more likely to report that they were happier than Americans who didn’t exercise at all.
PROMOTE SENSITIVITY TO CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Social interaction through recreation breaks down unfamiliarity, fear and isolation, factors associated with racism; and promotes positive contact between different ethnic groups and the broader community. The strength of a community is increased through recreation activities that allow people to share cultural and ethnic differences.
ELIMINATE LONELINESS -- CONQUER BOREDOM!
Land and water parks enhance the quality of life and contribute positively to the mental health of its citizens. Both mild and clinical depression can be reduced with activities such as water aerobics and swimming. "Active Living" is a concept that connects the mind, body and spirit in physical activity.
INCREASE COMMUNITY PRIDE -- STRENGTHEN NEIGHBORHOOD INVOLVEMENT
Community pride is generated through leisure and park facilities. When communities compare themselves to one another, eager to improve, they almost always evaluate their levels of open space, recreation facilities, and leisure program development.
REDUCE CRIME, DIMINISH GANG VIOLENCE, PROVIDE SAFE PLACES TO PLAY
Juvenile criminal activity dropped 24% in Cincinnati, Ohio during the first 13 weeks of their late night basketball program. Summer late night weekend recreation activities costing only 74 cents per person reduced juvenile crime by 52% in Phoenix, Arizona where it costs almost $40,000 to jail one teen for one year. The bottom line: it costs 100 times as much to incarcerate that to recreate.
MEET FRIENDS -- CREATE MEMORIES!
A child develops social skills, problem solving and creativity through early play experiences. The best opportunities are those that are planned and supervised. Physical activity is intellectually stimulating and enhances the learning process and the development of cognitive skills.
Upon opening a National Bowling Stadium, Reno Nevada generated $238 million in the first 6 months. The 1995 Monet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago generated $389 million with visitors spending $31 million on hotels, $31 million on shopping, $22 million in restaurants and $18 million for transportation. One adult softball tournament is estimated to generate $50,000, when 50 teams outside the city participate. Under these circumstances, the capital costs of building a one million dollar softball complex could be repaid after only 20 tournaments. Every tournament after that is profit that could be reinvested into other community needs. Golf was responsible for creating over 12,000 full and part time jobs in Phoenix, Arizona.
LOWER HEALTH CARE COSTS
Physically active older people typically benefit from lower blood pressure, increased muscle strength, joint flexibility, and lower total cholesterol levels than do less active people. Leisure activities can provide for the creation of new social relationships for Seniors after the loss of a loved one. Someone turns 50 every 8.4 seconds. By 2005, it is estimated one in five Americans will be 65 and older.
BOOST ECONOMY -- REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT!
When choosing business sites, employers strongly consider the quality of life provided by an area’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural programs.
CURB EMPLOYEE ABSENTEEISM -- BOOST EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY
General Electric found that employees who exercised were absent from work 45% fewer days than those who didn’t. Union Pacific Railroad found that their exercise programs helped employees to be more productive at work and achieve higher levels of concentration.
Firms that provide for employee fitness and health programs experience decreased employee turnover.
Two of the fastest growing segments of tourism are festival and event driven tourism. A recent study indicates the fondest memories people have of their past tend to involve family outings and vacations.
INCREASE PROPERTY VALUE -- ATTRACT NEW BUSINESS
In Salem, Oregon, urban land next to a greenbelt was worth $1,200 more per acre than urban land 1,000 feet away. Cities such as Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Spokane have proven that investments in waterfront and other open space development have succeeded in attracting new business and boosting tourism with subsequent increase in tax revenue.
Location of a business on the San Antonio Texas Riverwalk is considered very desirable. It provides a retreat for employees at lunch and offers a valuable greenspace in the central business district.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
Trees help deal with the serious pollution problem caused by the use of fossil fuels. Clean water is essential for the protection of humans and animals.
American rank clean air and clean water number one and two when choosing qualities for "The Best Places to Live" - Money magazine 1995.
PROVIDE SPACE TO ENJOY NATURE -- CLEAN AIR AND WATER
Membership in environmental groups is soaring and a trend toward natural environment based recreation activities indicates strong emphasis and learning.
Gardening is at an all time high in popularity. Working with living plants, and seeing them grow and mature brings personal satisfaction and relaxation.
Without increased amounts of natural habitat, forest lands, wetlands, cultural sites and recreation lands, the continued degradation of habitat will continue and undoubtedly lead to additional Endangered Species listings.
"We should exercise foresight in conserving and wisely using the property which contains the assurance of well-being for us and our children." –Theodore Roosevelt, 1908.
ENHANCE RELATIONSHIP SKILLS -- TEACH VITAL LIFE SKILLS
After school sports, as well as Arts and Craft classes enlighten children about the concept of team play: Together Everyone Achieves More.
Positive conflict resolution is a skill which can be applied all life long. Appropriate risk taking, and a healthy sense of competition and sportsmanship can substitute for violent confrontation related to gang activity.
OFFER PLACE FOR SOCIAL INTERACTION
The social need for recreation has been identified as a mens for community involvement and an expression of citizenship. A sense of community and social contact is fostered in order to combat urban social problems like loneliness and isolation. Our National Parks attract 88% more people than Disney World and Disney Land. Visits to state, regional and local parks exceed on billion annually.
A quote that appeared in the MRPA Review in January 2003:
It costs approximately $30,000 to incarcerate a juvenile offender for one year. If that money were available If that money were available to Parks and Recreation, we could:
Take him swimming twice a week for 24 weeks, and give him four hours at the zoo plus lunch, and enroll him in 50 community center programs, and visit the nature center twice , and let him play league softball for a season, and tour the gardens at the park twice, and give him two weeks of tennis lessons, and enroll him in two weeks of day camp, and let him play three rounds of golf and act in one play, and participate in one fishing clinic, and take a four-week pottery class, and play basketball eight hours a week for 40 weeks….
After which, we could return to you $29,125 and one much happier kid.