Parks provide a great benefit to citizens, both those who live nearby and tourists. In addition to their many environmental benefits, including preserving plant and animal habitat, decreasing air pollution, and water filtration, parks create an economic benefit for both governments and individuals. Creating well planned parks and preserving sufficient land for them can generate financial returns that are often many times greater than the money initially invested into the project, even when maintenance costs are factored in.
Homebuyers prefer homes close to parks, open space, and greenery. Proximity to parks increases property value, thereby increasing property tax revenue. Research has shown that a 5% increase in property values for houses within 500 feet of a park is a conservative estimate of the change in property value due to proximity to a park. Companies often choose to locate in communities that offer amenities such as parks as a means of attracting and retaining top-level workers.
Depending on their size, parks can draw visitors from near and far, bringing tourism revenue to local restaurants, hotels, snack shops, and stores. Parks can host festivals, concerts and athletics events, bringing additional boosts to the local economy.
Parks decrease health costs and support productivity, both through encouraging exercise and reducing air pollution. A park's plants absorb air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and some particulates, reducing the impacts they have on peoples' cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Parks provide low or no-cost recreation and encourage exercise. They bring people into nature, make outdoor recreation more accessible, and provide safe and attractive places for individuals and families to exercise and play.
Parks unpaved, pervious surfaces absorb rainwater, recharging ground water supplies and allowing storm runoff to be released slowly. Vegetation stores water and allows some to be evaporated. Reduced runoff and increased water storage can decrease the necessary size of a community's stormwater management system and leads to significant savings in water treatment costs.