Study Details Economic Benefits of San Jose Park System

A new report by the Trust for Public Land shows that the San José's park system of regional and neighborhood parks, trails, and community facilities generates millions of dollars in economic benefits.

Specifically, parks raise the value of nearby residential properties by $1 billion and increase tax revenues by $12.1 million a year. Parks provide stormwater management services valued at $6.43 million annually and reduce air pollution control costs by $1.18 million a year. The park system also provides residents with an annual medical cost savings of $28.3 million and a $51.2 million benefit for access to recreational opportunities. Visitors who come to visit these assets spend $120 million annually in the local economy and generate $4.93 million in local tax revenues. Additionally, volunteer time and financial contributions contributed to a $6.14 million community cohesion benefit.

The report was prepared for the City of San José by The Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence. It was formally presented yesterday by Jessica Sargent of The Trust for Public Land and Angel Rios, San José's Director of Parks Recreation & Neighborhood Services at SPUR's Downtown San José offices.

SPUR is the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. It brings people together to develop solutions to the big problems cities face. The organization is recognized as a leading civic planning organization and conducts and supports research, education and advocacy for good planning and good government throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

We've always known that parks make San José more beautiful, fun and a great place to be – we now better understand their economic value to the community," said Rios. "The Trust for Public Land study enriches our community conversation as we consider the value of park assets and their potential impact against other development options."

The report findings, available online here, and the City's website, show that savings, revenue and increased wealth stem from an annual investment of approximately $175,000,000, as part of the City's Capital Improvement Program for Parks and Recreation. The City of San José Parks system currently consists of nearly 3,500 acres of parkland, 57 miles of trails and 51 community centers. To answer the question, "How much does the City of San José receive from its parks and recreation system," the Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence identified seven major attributes of city park systems that provide economic value and can be measured: property value, clean water, clean air, health, recreational use, tourism, and community cohesion.

The study does not include every aspect of a park system with potential value, such as the value of making the city an attractive place to live and work.

"We identified the seven factors for evaluation based on input from two dozen noted park experts and economists," said Peter Harnik, director of Center for City Park Excellence. "We believe that the numbers we generate for San José and other cities around the country will help continue to revive, build and strengthen the city parks movement throughout the whole country."