Building a strong sense of community and boosting health and wellness through the many outdoor activities, events, and programs they offer are just two of your local parks and recreation agency’s biggest accomplishments. Through their hard work and expertise, you and your neighbors can hike trails, play tennis, fish, kayak, enjoy various concerts, festivals, and fairs, and enroll your children in recreational camps. Yet, there is another significant accomplishment of local parks and recreation departments that often goes unnoticed: their considerable contribution to their community’s economic vitality.
A recent National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) report conducted by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University found that parks and recreation services supported 1.1 million jobs while spending at local parks and recreation agencies contributed over $166 in economic activity. Those are some incredibly impressive numbers!
Below are just a few of the noteworthy ways parks and recreation programs support their communities’ economic vitality.
Create New Jobs & Business Opportunities
In addition to offering diverse job opportunities that range from high-level directorships to administrative assistants to out-in-the-field park operators and program instructors, thriving parks and recreation program also attracts more businesses to the community which increases local spending. When parks host festivals, concerts, parades, marathons, and other community-driven events, residents, and visitors spend money at surrounding businesses such as food trucks, ice cream parlors, restaurants, boutique shops, bed and breakfasts, and other local services and shops.
Provide Affordable Childcare Alternatives
Every spring, working parents are faced with a challenge: What do the kids do when school is out for summer? While enlisting the help of daycare and childcare services is an option, many of these services may not accommodate every community member’s budget. Parks and recreation services offer affordable childcare alternatives for working families. Their summer camps and programs are cost-effective alternatives that allow children to learn new skills, enjoy fun activities, stay active and make new friends – and give parents peace of mind knowing that their children are in good hands while they’re working. Plus, these programs help the summer months fly by for both kids and their parents.
Revitalize the Community
When neighbors are engaged and active in their parks and recreation programs and events, they evolve into advocates for their community. This newfound advocacy acts as a magnet that not only attracts visitors but new interested homebuyers as well. This positive word of mouth leads to a prosperous and welcoming community that will continue to thrive.
Clearly, parks and recreation agencies now only provide ample opportunities for communities to enjoy open spaces, stay active and connect with their neighbors, they also create jobs, attract new businesses, generate local spending, and improve its overall economic vitality. Through parks and recreation programs, communities can truly thrive and meet their economic needs.