The National Recreation and Park Association and George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis explored the role that quality park amenities play in 21st century regional economic development. Based on conversations with more than 70 park and recreation professionals, economic development practitioners and site-location consultants, this report highlights the important supporting role parks and recreation in recruiting and retaining businesses and skilled workers.

Read The Report


Key Findings

  • Park and recreation departments are significant employers, and their operations and capital spending generate significant economic impacts on local communities.
  • Investments in improving a community’s quality of life create a virtuous cycle: high quality-of-life locations attract workers, which attract employers, which in turn attract even more investments and jobs.
  • High-quality parks and recreation can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining quality businesses.
  • Active engagement with companies and workers influence business expansion decisions and attract new residents to a community.
  • Key partners to drive greater parks and recreation involvement in economic development planning and activities include:
    • Municipal departments that shape quality of life (e.g., public schools, public libraries, transit agencies)
    • Shapers of the built environment (e.g., private sector developers, downtown development organizations, business improvement districts, metropolitan planning organizations)
    • Neighboring park and recreation agencies and private non-profit competitors (e.g., YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs)

You can read the full report and dig deeper into the insights through 14 mini-case studies highlighting how park and recreation agencies serve in a vital role to attract and retain businesses and skilled workers.


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