Economic Benefits of BREC Parks
The BREC park system in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, manages a vast array of parks and facilities. BREC (a blend of Baton Rouge and Recreation) includes 175 parks and dozens of trails and conservation areas, as well as the Baton Rouge Zoo, Liberty Lagoon water park, the Magnolia Mound historic site, Knock Knock Children’s Museum, basketball courts, golf courses, an extreme sports park, playgrounds, an equestrian facility, and more. These resources are essential tourism drivers in the region, and greatly increase outdoor recreation access for the diverse residents of East Baton Rouge Parish. The natural areas they provide also decrease air pollution, mitigate stormwater flooding, and enhance nearby property values.
In The Economic Benefits of BREC Parks, Trust for Public Land estimates the value of the system’s benefits, including ecosystem services (the benefits that nature provides to people) and economic development. Some highlights from the report include:
- BREC contributes $279,464,378 annually in recreational use value to East Baton Rouge Parish residents, based on a park use survey conducted for the report.
- Parish residents that use BREC parks and trails exclusively to meet the CDC recommendations for physical activity avoid an estimated $8,018,856 in total healthcare costs each year.
- Homeowners living within 500 feet of BREC parks experience an overall property value increase of $20,794,966 because of these natural areas, leading to annual property tax revenue increases of $1,667,798.
- BREC parks reduce stormwater management costs by $2,943,090 if existing gray infrastructure was used, and up to $36,224,882 if new green infrastructure approaches were implemented.
- In 2022, BREC saw over 1.7 million visitors to staffed parks and facilities. Visitors from outside East Baton Rouge Parish contributed an estimated $26,166,357 in tourism spending to the broader community.
The award-winning BREC park system provides many benefits to East Baton Rouge Parish, whether they are quantifiable like tourism visitation or harder to measure like deepening residents’ connections to the natural world. With The Economic Benefits of BREC Parks report, Trust for Public Land illustrates the vital importance of BREC parks to improving quality of life for Parish residents and visitors.