Charlie Supports Parks

Ok, let’s say that we approve the addition of a much needed athletic park and recreational facility in the Cleveland community of Johnston County, NC. And let’s assume that your county property tax bill on your current residence, valued at $200k, would be increased by $80, per annum, to support the park facility. And let’s say your family has four occupants living in your house: Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother. Breaking down the numbers, your tax bill will only increase by 0.2191780822 cents per day (for this example) for the entire family, per annum. If you push these numbers down, the cost would only increase the tax, per household member, by 0.0547945205 cents per day.

Planning for parks and recreation facilities can promote active lifestyles, build healthy communities, and lower health care costs.

A report on The Health Benefits of Parks by the Trust for Public Land provides strong evidence that people exercise more when they have access to parks. Regular physical activity can improve health and reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes. Exercise and active lifestyles can also provide psychological benefits, improve mental health, and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Economic Benefits

Studies show that well-planned parks and recreation systems can serve as a catalyst for economic development. Access to parks and recreation facilities and active transportation infrastructure may increase property values, foster job creation, and provide a foundation for place-based economic development. 

Measuring the economic benefits of well-planned parks systems can be difficult. However, the Trust for Public Land has created a guide for Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System that enumerates those benefits in terms of seven major factors—property value, tourism, direct use, health, community cohesion, clean water, and clean air.

Environmental Benefits

Parks and recreation infrastructure and facilities promotes conservation and environmental sustainability. According to a report by the NPRA, parks facilities conserve natural resources and wildlife habitat, protect air and water quality, and preserve open space for current and future generations. Through stewardship activities, parks can involve the public in conservation efforts and increase awareness of environmental needs. Parks and open space conserves scenic vistas, maintains healthy ecosystems, and provides carbon‐reducing sustainable landscapes.

Social and Equity Benefits

Parks and recreation facilities also provide social and equity benefits for community members. According to an analysis of social equity and parks conducted by NPRA, public parks provide equal access to all citizens regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or ability. Parks and recreation facilities can foster community pride, bring people together, create destination-oriented places, and connect people to each other and nature. “Pocket parks” are small outdoor spaces, often in urban areas, that provide active recreation opportunities for residents—including children—in underserved areas. According to an issue brief on pocket parks by the National Recreation and Park Association, successful parks have four key qualities. They are accessible, allow people to engage in activities, comfortable, and sociable places. 

As a small business man in the “Villages of Cleveland” (My recommendation for a possible name change for our community, unrelated to the park issue, but helps to bring us all forward, together, as a community moving forward as a powerful collaboration in the 21st century), it is my belief that a infinitesimal tax increase in a property held by an individual or a corporation to provide our community with a much needed park and recreational facility, will only help to improve the health, welfare, and viability of the fastest-growing populate of our county. 

Charlie Carden, MBA-MSOM, BSCJ, CPM
Charlie’s BBQ and Grille 
8948 Cleveland Rd.
Clayton, NC 27520

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2 thoughts on “Charlie Supports Parks

  1. Your whole argument rests on a family with two children. With about 6K kids, but 27k residents – those families make up the minority in the fire district. Also the argument of environmental benefits is total bogus – how are ball fields and parking lots preserving natural habitat?

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    1. While Charlie’s argument uses the example of a family with two children to show the surprisingly inexpensive cost of parks, it does not assume or rest upon the assumption that such families constitute a majority of Cleveland households. That is because parks are good for more than just children. They benefit the elderly who walk need safe places to walk and exercise. The benefit adults who currently have no access to Adult Recreation Leagues or basketball courts. The benefit runners and cyclists who have no greenways. They benefit pet owners who need to socialize pets. Moreover they benefit the whole community by increasing local tourism and businesses, which keeps actually creates more tax revenue for Johnston County to pour back into roads, policing, schools, and more.
      To your second point, there is extensive study that Parks and Recreation is beneficial to the environment (see https://www.nrpa.org/our-work/Three-Pillars/conservation/ or for some). You are right that baseball fields are not wildlife habitat, but generally parks create much more green space, save more trees, and plants for pollinators than a housing development, which is the most likely alternative. If you have walked the Neuse River Greenway, you have seen gorgeous conservation work enabled by Parks and Recreation. We have waterways through our community which could host similar recreation space. Remember this is not just about one park with ballfields. With a Parks and Recreation District, we could build all kinds of recreation spaces like nature trails and passive parks.

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