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Maricopa County Parks 

Economic Impact Of Maricopa County's Open-Space Park System Reported


November 1, 2015

Have you ever wondered about the value and benefits your local park system brings to your community? Maricopa County's Parks and Recreation Department has, and as a result, conducted an economic impact analysis study to find out!

"To gain a better understanding of the park systems economic impact on Maricopa County, the Department partnered with the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance to hire Arizona State University to perform an economic impact analysis on eight of our 10 parks," stated R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department director.

The primary focus of the study was to examine visitor spending habits in multiple categories. "After all the data had been collected, the research team calculated the overall economic impact of the County's regional parks and facilities, and presented the key results on visitor expenditures, our operating expenditures, and the economic impact on the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area to staff, " said Cardin.

A couple of key highlights identified by the study include -

• Impact of Visitor Spending: It is estimated that park visitors spent approximately $13.72 million during 2014 within 10 miles of each park. This type of spending supports about 139 full-time jobs.

• Impact of Total Operating Expenses: The value-added impact of annual operating expenses within the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area is $9.7 million for the eight parks studied. This amount is distributed among a variety of industry types, creating at least 264 full-time jobs. Employment and payroll, commercial and industrial machinery, and equipment repair and maintenance are amongst the top industries impacted.

Overall, the Department's economic impact of both visitor spending and total operating expenses within the Phoenix Metropolitan Statistical Area was calculated at -

42% return on investment (ROI)

$24.2 million in output

$20.8 million in gross regional product

$14.2 million in labor income

301 supporting jobs in the greater community

"When the weather cools, it is hard to put a price on being able to hike in the Sonoran Desert and take in the natural beauty that fills our county," said Steve Chucri, chairman of the Maricopa County, Board of Supervisors. "This study proves the value is also tangible. Our parks are not only beautiful open spaces, they are also bringing jobs to our community."

Tax Revenue

The total tax contributions as a result of visitor expenditures and operating expenses combined equal $2.2 million in federal taxes and $1.2 million in both state and local taxes.

"Although the positive benefits these open spaces provide to us are profound, many are intangible and difficult, if not impossible, to quantify. However, in working to inform policy and planning, numbers matter," said Stacie Beute, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance.

To learn more about the results of the economic impact study, visit Maricopa County's Parks and Recreation Web site at


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