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How parks and recreation is good for local economy

Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District


September 29, 2018

Michelle Vance

There's no denying the health, quality of life and social benefits a healthy parks and recreation footprint has on a community. But investing in your local parks also makes a positive impact on our local economy.

Our Tehachapi parks play host to a variety of events throughout the year that benefit local artists, businesses and restaurants. Activities like the Mountain Festival, Go Native, All American 4th of July festivities and the ever-popular Tehachapi GranFondo cycling event bring a big boost to our community's economic health. And our parks are the vessels that help support this economic activity.

Studies conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association have found the following to be true about the correlation between a thriving parks and recreation environment and local economics:

• Park and recreation departments are significant employers, and their operations and capital spending generate significant economic impacts on local communities.

• Investments in improving a community's quality of life create a virtuous cycle: high quality-of-life locations attract workers, which attract employers, which in turn attract even more investments and jobs.

• High-quality parks and recreation can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining quality businesses.

• Active engagement with companies and workers influences business expansion decisions and attract new residents to a community.

Key partners to drive greater parks and recreation involvement in economic development planning and activities include: Municipal departments that shape quality of life (e.g., public schools, public libraries, transit agencies); shapers of the built environment (e.g., private sector developers, downtown development organizations, business improvement districts, metropolitan planning organizations); neighboring park and recreation agencies and private nonprofit competitors (e.g., YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs).

"We have always known that local and regional public parks add significant value and benefits to their communities in terms of conservation, health and wellness and social equity," NRPA states.

With the construction of Walmart and other businesses and restaurants on their way, Tehachapi is experiencing an economic renaissance. This means more jobs, revenue, visitors and residents coming to our beautiful mountain community. Passing the Nov. 6 bond will help us keep up with business development and make sure our parks and community opportunities are well-prepared for the inevitable growth of our town.

"Seventy six percent of corporate executives say quality of life factors are 'very important' or 'important' in their site location decision," NRPA said, based on conversations and research with more than 70 park and recreation professionals, economic development practitioners and site-location consultants.

I raised my kids here in Tehachapi and I know how valuable an all-inclusive community experience can be. Help Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District continue to provide health, wellness, beauty and economic prosperity to the current and future residents of our lovely city.

"Communities only have one chance to make a positive first impression ... parks and recreation is a visible proof of a community's 'curb appeal,'" according to NRPA.

Michelle Vance is the District Manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in public administration from Cal State Bakersfield and has lived in Tehachapi for 26 years.


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