A new study outlines the economic benefits of parks and recreation in the Pikes Peak region. Parks help lower public health costs, raise property values, and attract tourism dollars, according to the study.
The Trust for Public Land authored the report. The group has done more than forty similar studies in other communities across the country. Senior Research Economist Jennifer Plowden says it caught her attention that 9% of tourists visit the Springs specifically to spend time outdoors.
"It's a very high number. In other urban places where we've worked, it's been a lot lower," she says. "So it really tells us that the outdoors and the parks that make those outdoors accessible to tourists are really central to the economy here."
Parks director Karen Palus says Colorado Springs residents know parks are important to their personal lives, but it's valuable to have figures to demonstrate their benefits in government and economic arenas.
"We wanted to find quantifiable results that we could share," she says. "A lot of times we talk amongst ourselves as park users and park advocates, but it's really broadening that conversation with others in the community."
Among other benefits, the report outlines parks' roles in managing stormwater, reducing air pollution, and supporting sporting goods businesses in town.
The study can be found here.