Most people enjoy the benefit of open park land near their homes. While the aesthetic and environmental value of parks are easily recognized, their economic value is sometimes overlooked. In fact, studies have shown that parks create a positive economic impact by increasing nearby property values.
Historically, supporters of park development have intuitively felt that parks increase nearby property values. More recently, these views have been confirmed through statistical studies. For example, a study conducted in Portland, Oregon, in 2000 found that a group of parks had a positive impact on the values of properties within a distance of 1,500 feet. Another study conducted on a number of parks in Dallas in 2001 found that homes facing a park were worth 22 percent more than homes located half a mile away from a park.
People enjoy the benefits and natural beauty that a park offers and so they naturally desire property that is located near a park. This increase in demand translates to an increase in property values.
Increased values lead to increased property taxes, which pay for the cost of developing the park. This means that over the long term, a park will most likely pay for itself. Parks also attract desirable residents such as retirees to the area. This effect may also impact property values positively because safe, friendly communities are very desirable places to live.
While parks have been shown to increase nearby property values in general, there are factors that may affect the magnitude of the increase. For example, it has been observed that parks designed for passive use have a greater impact than parks designed for active use. Also, if there is another park within a reasonably close distance, the addition of a second park may not have as great an impact on property values. It is also reasonable to assume that the size and layout of a park will have some impact on the amount by which nearby property values increase.
In addition to attracting residents, parks may also attract new businesses to an area. This provides a secondary benefit to the local economy that may not be apparent at first glance. Also, federal and state grants are sometimes available to aid in park development. If this is the case, the park will pay for itself and start producing revenue for the local government in an even shorter time.