Garfield Park Conservatory
Indianapolis Parks and Recreation doesn’t just manage green space, it also adds millions to the city’s economy, according to an Indiana University study released Wednesday, in conjunction with Indy Parks.
Every dollar spent on the department generated about $3.13 in the local economy in 2019, with an economic impact of $106.8 million that year, researchers at IU’s Public Policy Institute estimated.
“This report proves what we already know: public parks play a vital role in our neighborhoods,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a news release. “By providing fun and safe gathering places for residents and families, they represent one of our most important community resources and should be treated as such. The past year has only underscored the need to protect and invest in our shared public spaces.
IndyParks manages 212 parks consisting of 11,258 acres of green space, including playgrounds, sports fields, trails, recreation and nature centers, swimming pools, golf courses and dog parks, according to its website. The department also hosted more than 2,500 sports, arts and education events, classes and programs in 2019, according to the report.
And access to all of this is generally more affordable to residents than offers from private competitors. In 2019, IndyParks earned approximately $4.3 million in revenue from pool admissions, open gym attendance and golf course green fees, which are among the most popular programming options. popular in the department. The same equipment had an estimated value to the private sector of more than $8.1 million, according to the report.
Location near a park can also add money to property values, according to the report. In an analysis using Marion County parcel-level data from the Indiana Local Government Department of Finance, researchers found that Marion County’s average property value in 2019 increased with proximity to parks. Properties within 1,000 to 1,320 feet of a park had an average value of $140,000, while those within 250 feet were worth an average of $197,787. The average home price in Marion County was $183,400 in 2019.
Property values near parks, which appreciated 15% from 2016 to 2019, also grew faster than Marion County’s average increase of 11%, according to the analysis. From 2017 to 2019, properties near parks added $3.4 million to local tax revenue.
Indy Parks’ own spending also contributed to the economy. From 2015 to 2019, the department directly spent about $136.3 million, indirectly generating another $98.5 million by paying for goods and services from other industries, according to the report. The 1,800 jobs provided by Indy Parks during the same period also added $106.5 million in wages and benefits.
And this despite relatively low spending on local parks. Indianapolis ranked 93 out of 100 US cities in 2017 for spending $35 per capita on public parks, according to conservation organization The Trust for Public Land. 2017 is the most recent year for which Indianapolis data is available on the group’s annual rankings.
The IU researchers noted that the report did not include anything that could be factored into IndyParks’ economic impact, such as savings in healthcare costs and removal of air pollution.
“While park systems are primarily viewed as a public good that can improve the quality of life for residents, it’s important to remember that they can also have significant economic impacts within the community,” Joti said. Martin, Senior Policy Analyst of the report, in writing. comments. “Our research demonstrates the far-reaching positive influence Indy Parks has on those who live near its parks and the greater Indianapolis community.”