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Kansas parks produce solid ROI says KU students' study

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Funds spent on Kansas recreation and parks programs, facilities, activities and employees return $1.70 for every $1 invested, according to an economic impact study conducted by the University of Kansas School of Business’ Jayhawk Consulting group released in January.

“This means that spending for Kansas parks and recreational activities are additive, not detrimental, to the overall Kansas economy,” said Wally Meyer, director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the KU School of Business. “It’s a statement that funds invested into Kansas recreation and parks produce a positive economic value.”

The study was commissioned by the Kansas Recreation and Park Association to examine the economic benefits provided in local communities and on a state-wide basis. Five business students and one engineering student from Jayhawk Consulting, an outreach program coordinated through the School of Business, were chosen to conduct the study.

“This is the first statewide economic impact study that focused exclusively on the park and recreation industry,” said KRPA Executive Director Doug Vance.

In addition to the return on investment findings, the study also revealed that real estate values in Kansas communities are consistently higher when located next to or near local parks.

“We knew that our agencies provide essential services in local communities and now it is clear from this study that parks and recreation brings meaningful economic value in our local communities,” said Vance.

“Utilizing IMPLAN, an economic modeling software, we assessed the quantitative benefit of parks and recreation in Kansas,” said first-year MBA student Adam Buck.

The students’ study also provided insights into usage and perceptions of park and recreation facilities and services.

Jayhawk Consulting students found that 73 percent of the population uses recreation and park services at least once per week and that 60 percent of users factored in lower cost when considering public recreation and parks as a choice. Results of the economic impact report also showed that citizens rank the importance of parks and recreation in the top five of city services.

The study is available at krpa.org or by contacting the Kansas Recreation and Park Association.

For more information contact: Toni Dixon
tonidixon@ku.edu
(785) 864-4449



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