Ohio local parks generate $7 billion in economic activity

MIAMI VALLEY – A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) demonstrates the vast economic impact of the nation’s local parks. According to the report, operations and capital spending by Ohio local parks was responsible for over $7 billion in economic activity and supported 43,306 jobs.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the report finds that operations and capital spending for local parks and recreation across the United States generated nearly $218 billion in economic activity and supports almost 1.3 million jobs in 2019. Preliminary data suggest that parks and recreation’s economic impact held resilient during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as local parks’ operations and capital spending $225 billion in economic activity and supporting 1.25 million jobs.

The same 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 economic impact the park district has on the community reaches beyond the 81 people we employ. Our parks and special events like Fall Farm Fest and Holiday Lights draw people to Miami County from all over the region. These visitors often spend time exploring our downtowns and patronizing local businesses,” said Scott Myers, Miami County Park District executive director. “We are proud to play a part in why this is a great place to live, work and play.”

“Not only do park and recreation professionals work tirelessly to provide essential health and environmental benefits to their communities, but the agencies in which they serve are also powerful engines of economic activity,” said Kristine Stratton, 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 now more than ever. The impact these investments provide are critical to communities nationwide.”

Dr. Terry Clower, lead investigator for the study, observes: “Local park and recreation agencies 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 further notes that quality of life and the availability of recreation amenities is increasingly important for attracting and retaining workers and employers, which extends the economic impacts of park and recreation spending beyond what is captured in the current study.

Public support for parks and recreation has never been stronger. According to NRPA’s 2021 Engagement With Parks Report, nearly nine in 10 people agree that it is important to fund local park and recreation agencies to ensure every member of the community has equitable access to amenities, infrastructure and programming. Additionally, 87 percent of people agree that parks and recreation is an important service provided by their local government.

To access the full report, visit www.nrpa.org/EconomicImpact.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.

About the Miami County Park District:

The mission of the Park District is to conserve natural resources and enrich the quality of life for the people of Miami County through stewardship, environmental education, outdoor experiences and passive leisure activities. For more information, visit www.MiamiCountyParks.com.

About the National Recreation and Park Association:

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.