Economic Benefit of Parks

When we visit our San Jose Parks, we often focus on the beauty or the fun that the parks provide. Yet, San Jose City Parks also provide extraordinary economic benefit. The Trust for Public Land has been analyzing the economic impact of parks for many cities across the contract, including Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco. Now they are studying San Jose. Later this year, we expect a report to be released with dollar figures.

Here are the preliminary results:

Parks contribute to City revenues through property taxes:

  • Increased annual San Jose property tax revenues/assessment attributed to proximity to a San Jose park.

Parks contribute to City revenues through property tourism:

  • Increased annual San Jose tax revenues from park-related tourism: Lake Cunningham skateboard park, Kelley Park and Happy Hollow Zoo, Christmas in the Park, Rosegarden, Renaissance Fair at Confluence Point, and many more.

Parks contribute to the wealth of San Jose residents:

  • Increased property sales value from property located within 500 feet of a park.
  • Profits to businesses from park-related tourism.

Parks save San Jose residents money:

  • Direct use value of park facilities, i.e. the amount residents would pay to use equivalent
  • private facilities
  • Health benefits from use of public parks.

The environmental benefits of parks save the City money:

  • Annual reduction in San Jose stormwater management costs each year resulting from parkland.
  • The role of parks in reducing San Jose air pollution cost each year.
  • Reducing cooling costs by absorbing urban heat.

The final report will compare San Jose with other major cities. How will we compare? We have fewer parks than most cities. Are we getting all the economic benefit that we should from our current city Park system?

SPUR sponsored a review of the San Francisco results in January 2015. The San Francisco report gives background on the analytic method and serves as a good preview for San Jose’s report. Check it out: