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We Need Wildomar Parks For Many Reasons

"Parks provide intrinsic environmental, aesthetic, and recreation benefits to our cities. They are also a source of positive economic benefits."

The Citizens of Wildomar are currently making a major decision, possibly the biggest decision relating specifically to their city that they will make for many years. The decision at hand is, "Does Wildomar Want Parks?"

There are so very many things to think about when considering that question. Having parks, and parks themselves, reflect the personality of the community. Parks provide many different things: sports locations, walking trails, playgrounds, locations for community events and many different types of overall recreation.

Right now I would like to discuss the financial benefits of parks. The American Planning Association (APA) has researched what, if any financial benefit does a community receive from parks. They found that, "Parks provide intrinsic environmental, aesthetic, and recreation benefits to our cities. They are also a source of positive economic benefits. They enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, bring in homebuyers and workers, and attract retirees.

"At the bottom line, parks are a good financial investment for a community. Understanding the economic impacts of parks can help decision makers better evaluate the creation and maintenance of urban parks."

This is a pretty strong statement to make. While we all can appreciate parks at one level or another, how can you directly show financial benefit? Well, the APA researched the issue in depth and found several historical factors from different areas of the nation that all showed the same thing: Parks are financial engines for communities.

I am including two of their key points. One key point is how real property values are positively affected by parks and the other is how municipal revenues are increased by a community having parks.

KEY POINT #1:

Real property values are positively affected.

More than 100 years ago, Frederick Law Olmsted conducted a study of how parks help property values. From 1856 to 1873 he tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to New York City's Central Park, in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. He found that over the 17-year period there was a $209 million increase in the value of the property impacted by the park.

As early as the 19th century the positive connection between parks and property values was being made. Olmsted's analysis shows the real dollar amount impact of parks. His study was not a unique situation, however. Several studies conducted over the last 20 years reaffirm his findings, in cities across the country. Below are more examples of how proximity to a park setting is connected to property values.

Chattanooga, Tennessee: In the early 1980s this city was facing rising unemployment and crime, polluted air, and a deteriorating quality of life. To lure middle-class residents back, local government, businesses, and community groups decided to improve the quality of life by cleaning the air, acquiring open space, and creating parks and trails. As a result, property values rose more than $11 million, an increase of 127.5 percent.

Atlanta, Georgia: After Centennial Olympic Park was built, adjacent condominium prices rose from $115 to $250 a square foot. As noted on the Centennial Olympic Park website, "Thousands of people who have made the move to downtown Atlanta have chosen Centennial Olympic Park as their front yard."

Amherst, Massachusetts: Cluster housing with dedicated open space was found to appreciate at an annual rate of 22 percent, compared to a comparable conventional subdivision's rate of 19.5 percent. This translated in 1989 dollars to a difference of $17,100.

KEY POINT #2:

Municipal revenues are increased.

Another component of the Central Park study was an assessment of increased tax revenue as a result of the park. The annual excess of increase in tax from the $209 million in property value was $4 million more than the increase in annual debt payments for the land and improvement. As a result of building Central Park, New York City made a profit.

Increased property values and increased municipal revenues go hand in hand. Property tax is one of the most important revenue streams for cities. By creating a positive climate for increased property values, the tax rolls will benefit in turn. As shown with Central Park, parks can both pay for themselves and generate extra revenue. In addition, tax revenues from increased retail activity and tourism-related expenditures further increase municipal monies.

Property Tax Benefits

Chattanooga, Tennessee: Improvements in Chattanooga resulted in an increase in annual combined city and county property tax revenues of $592,000 from 1988 to 1996, an increase of 99 percent. (Lerner and Poole, 1999).
 

Boulder, Colorado: The presence of a greenbelt in a Boulder neighborhood was found to add approximately $500,000 in property tax revenue annually.

Sales Tax Benefits

Oakland, California: The presence of the East Bay Regional Park District is estimated to stimulate about $254 million annually in park-related purchases, of which $74 million is spent in the local East Bay economy.
 

Shopping Districts: Surveys indicate that prices for products in districts with trees were on average about 11 percent greater than in no-tree districts; the quality of products were rated 30 percent higher than in areas with no sidewalk landscaping.

Tourism-Related Benefits

Atlanta, Georgia: Centennial Olympic Park has an estimated 1.5 million visitors each year, attending 175 public events.

San Antonio, Texas:  Riverwalk Park, created for $425,000, is lined with outdoor cafes, shops, bars, art galleries, and hotels, and has overtaken the Alamo as the most popular attraction for the city's $3.5-billion tourism industry. 

Conclusion:

These is little doubt from the research that parks provide direct financial benefit to the communities they support, but it's up to the community to support them as well. Parks provide so much for our families, our children and our community in general, I urge you to please Vote Yes on "Measure Z" in the upcoming election.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Larry October 17, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Re-Post: I must say, if you want parks fine vote for them, but don’t lie to get more people to vote with you. My Dad is a Real Estate Broker. I ask him if parks are really are a value booster to homes. He told me in his 40 years for selling real estate, never has the question of Parks showed up on an appraisal sheet, never. In fact he told me you have to disclose the fact that there will be excessive noise, over crowded street parking and park lights that will be glaring in on your property and in your windows all night when the lights are left on. So Mr. Lloyd you should use a more relevant document, not something from “1876” or studies from back East, to prove your point. How about a study that is done in Southern California and done in the 21st Century? By the way I think it is admirable that you said you will pay the delinquent electric and water bills personally.
John Lloyd October 18, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Homebuyers are attracted to purchase homes. "Parks, ponds, bike paths." "Nearly five acres of woodland protected as a nature sanctuary" "My lake...my park...my home." All around the U.S. real estate brokers and homebuilders are advocating parks as one of the top residential selling points. The desire to live near parks also translates into real dollars. A 2001 survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that 57 percent of voters would choose a home close to parks and open space over one that was not. In addition, the NAR survey found that 50 percent of voters would be willing to pay 10 percent more for a house located near a park or protected open space. The National Association of Home Builders found that 65 percent of home shoppers surveyed felt that parks would seriously influence them to move to a community. According to Economics Research Associates (ERA), a 1991 survey in Denver found that 48 percent of residents would pay more to live in a neighborhood near a park or greenway. Parkside homebuyers are attracted to the dedicated open space, the expansive views, and the guarantee that both elements will stay the same. By promoting, supporting, and revitalizing urban parks, cities can help attract a significant portion of the homebuying community.
CaWasteWatcher October 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
John, A park in your neighborhood is like a pool in your backyard. If a buyer is looking for a pool, then your home has added value. If a buyer doesn't want the aggravation, safety concerns, or cost of pool ownership, your home has no added value. While some families love the idea of being near a park, others may be uncomfortable with the noise, parking, bright lights, and 'what happens there after dark'. I was unable to find more than a couple of studies that support the claim that parks increase property values, but the ones I did find state that only homes in the immediate area would benefit. The City of Wildomar is not the beneficiary. Three select areas of Wildomar may benefit. Comparing Wildomar to places like New York may be a real stretch, as you have indicated, but I would like to point out that you also appropriately noted that the cities of Temecula and Murrietta pay for their parks out of general funds, not special taxes imposed on their citizens. I'm all for that!
Ken Mayes October 18, 2012 at 05:52 PM
To be fair Temecula and Murrieta both have Community Services District which most certainly impose additional taxes on property. Temecula's CSD imposes a $74.44 per residential property which is one Economic Development Unit (EDU), apartments pay .75 EDU, developed commercial property pays 6 EDU's per acre,undeveloped commercial properties pay 4 EDU's per acre. Murrieta charges anywhere from $4.80 to $181.74 per EDU for parks/open space depending on which zone you live in. Temecula and Murrieta also have many areas the pay Mello-Roos fees which add several thousand dollars to the tax bill every year for 20-30 years some of which paid for parks to be developed. I guess Wildomarian's just doesn't pay enough taxes.
N1smo2go October 22, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Im shocked that this is even happening. My softball team played at that Marna O' Brein park since it had reopened. Taken my kids to that park to fly kites, and I drive past it when travelling to my in laws in Elsinore. Parks are for the entire community to enjoy open space and recreational activities. The youth football team practices there, softball and soccer teams practice there, kids are playing on the jungle gyms, even the basketball courts are being used by teenagers to older adults. Cities need parks to have the outdoor recreational activities for the families hat live ther. Kids need the parks more than anyone, to allow them to run and play and enjoy the outdoors. I can remember driving past the park when it was dilipadated, living in Elsinore since 1999, it was the same way, there were no parks. Now I live in Murrieta, where I can pick any one of those 20 something parks and they are always utilized by sports teams, moms walking their babies, people walkiing the dog, and your parks in Wildomar are no different. Your community is having to come into Murrieta to spend their money because you have people in Wildomar, Lake Elsinore and Lakeland Village that are trying to keep their rural environment. Well as long as property is being developed, families will move in and parks are part of the NECESSITY of development. There are some areas in wildomar that continue to be blighted by those that moved into it decades ago. Parks should never be closed. Period. Vote YES

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