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Independent Study Finds East Bay Parks Contribute Significantly to Economy

Benefits to residents equal $500 million and Park District generates $200 million in economic activity annually.

Today the East Bay Regional Park District (EBPRD) and Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) announce the release of an economic report on the value and impact of the Park District in the East Bay economy and quality of life. This is the second economic study by EPS for the Park District; the first was in 2000.

“The economic value of the East Bay Regional Park District is a significant and irreplaceable part of how the East Bay works,” said report author Teifion Rice-Evans of EPS. “Using the latest economic tools, including the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the results of our analysis quantify the importance of the East Bay Regional Park District as well as its evolution since 2000. That’s unique and increases the value of this study for the East Bay and for park agencies everywhere.”

The study revealed that the East Bay Regional Park District:

  • Hosts 25 million visits a year. This is more than the attendance of the A’s, Raiders, Warriors, Giants, 49ers, Earthquakes, and Sharks combined.
  • Provides a range of benefits to residents, businesses, and visitors that total about $500 million annually. This includes recreation, healthcare, property values, and other ecosystem services.   
  • Generates nearly $200 million in regional economic activity every year that would not happen without the District. This includes visitor spending and grant-funded capital investments, and the multiplier effects of both.

“The economists looked at real estate, recreation, public health, visitor spending, capital projects, and many of the services that nature itself provides us humans. It’s clear from their findings that parks are more than just pretty places. They are essential and worthy of significant investment,” said Robert E. Doyle, General Manager of the East Bay Regional Park District.

“The parks belong to us. These are our public spaces. But very importantly, we vote for these places, we pay for them with property taxes and we receive an enormous benefit from that,” said Steve Wood, Outdoor Programs & Outreach Market Manager for REI. “We see study after study that shows that time spent in the outdoors is healthy. This is going to lower health costs; this is going to increase your quality of life. It’s going to improve your physical fitness and it’s an accessible opportunity for people in the Bay Area.”

This report is the second installment in a longitudinal study by Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., a land use economics consulting firm based in Oakland. The first report was produced in the year 2000 and was groundbreaking at the time. A lot has changed over the past 17 years. The 2017 report builds on the 2000 methodology and will add to the national body of research about the economic impact of parks and open spaces.

The full report and a video about it can be found at EBParks.org/Economics

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About the East Bay Regional Park District

The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the United States. With 120,000 acres and 65 parks currently under its stewardship, the Park District employs 1,000 people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

About Economic and Planning Systems

Economic Planning & Systems (EPS) is a land use economics consulting firm with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Denver. Our broad-based economics consulting practice supports regional economic development and integrates the use of land for parks, recreation, agriculture, and habitat conservation. www.epsys.com

 

Contact:
Carol Johnson, Assistant General Manager
(510) 544-2003
cjohnson@ebparks.org