Presentation on theme: "Positioning Trails for Community Value. Why Bother Formally Positioning Trails? Improve perceptions held by citizens and elected officials so that the."— Presentation transcript:
Why Bother Formally Positioning Trails? Improve perceptions held by citizens and elected officials so that the efforts to provide trail access is viewed as making a substantial contribution to important community concerns. Improve the ability to compete successfully for a greater share of finite public tax pool and voluntary funds. As both of these objectives are advanced, the value of trails, park and recreation services will rise in the public’s eyes and increased resources will be made available to further enhance the benefits that these programs and facilities can confer.
In what ways can public park and recreation professionals contribute socially or economically to communities? What is the role of trails?
Attracting Businesses Trails, parks and recreation increase the quality of life in a community. For most businesses (especially ‘knowledge- based’ companies), retaining their employees is extremely important. For many of those employees, the quality of life in a community is even more important than a higher salary. Therefore, communities with excellent park and recreation facilities will be more successful at attracting and keeping businesses.
Enhancing Real Estate Values Property values near trails and ‘nice’ parks are, on average, about 20% higher than similar properties not located near a park. More value when linked … The costs to maintain parks and trails are less than the costs to service a residential development (e.g. roads, sewers, schools, etc.) Therefore, trails and parks help to bring in more tax revenue by increasing property values and are also a cheaper investment than development.
Improving Community Health We provide opportunities for physical fitness, stress reduction, social interaction, etc. Recreation is a preventative strategy. Recreation is less expensive than health care. Therefore, trails, parks and recreation make substantial contributions to keeping the community healthy and to lowering health care costs for citizens and the government.
Environmental Stewardship In addition to being great places for passive and active recreation, trails and parks can bring several environmental benefits to a community: improved air quality & reduce pollution improved water quality reduced residential energy use preventing erosion and flooding All of these benefits also have an economic side in that they help to save taxpayers’ money (e.g. pollution control, less air conditioning, fewer storm drains, etc.)
Attracting Businesses Parks and recreation increase the quality of life in a community. Town of Aurora and community town wide trail example: lever other investments For most businesses (especially ‘knowledge- based’ companies), retaining their employees is extremely important. For many of those employees, the quality of life in a community is even more important than a higher salary. Therefore, communities with excellent park and recreation facilities will be more successful at attracting and keeping businesses.
Attracting Partners Trails literally can be “connectors” to many potential partnerships of value to the community and increase community pride in these assets. Trails increase community pride Trails enhance community objectives Points of interest (BIA, Chamber of Commerce) Heritage of the community (Museums, Heritage Districts …) Natural features and vistas (Nature areas, Link to other activities (shopping, food, hobbies : photography) Places to walk, cycle, ride and be active Social gatherings, other events enroute Socialization for people and pets: gardens, leash-free zones, Greater respect for people and property, Nature and outdoors as “grounding” and “calming” benefits
Attracting Tourists Park, recreation and tourism attractions are the main reasons most people travel to another community (e.g. museums, beaches, etc.). A wide variety of other businesses benefit as a result of tourists visiting a community. e.g. hotels, restaurants, retail, airlines, etc. Therefore, the attractions run by park, recreation and tourism agencies bring many additional economic benefits to the community. We need to do a better job of measuring and communicating these economic impacts.
Summary Investments in trails are best presented as alliances with important community causes Evidence-based economic data is essential Measurement of cost per use can be revealing against other investment options Ability of others to say nice things about trails is required; commendations and testimonials from key community leaders are useful Partnerships around community institutional and business/tourism destinations, points of interest, heritage, preservation, nature and health improve support for trails.