City Recreation Return on Investment

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Tigard Ice Cream Social – Tigard House

Typically one thinks of City Recreation as offering a recreation center with swimming pool, events hall, fitness equipment, gym, indoor club and meeting rooms and a plethora of services and activities offered under one roof. Many Cities simply don’t have the financial means to offer such amenities. However when community leaders realize the economic return on indoor/outdoor events and activities – they support and strategically plan to grow them like any other core City service people need and want.

The NPRA (National Parks and Recreation Association) – shows many economic impact studies, where City recreation utilizes parks land and public use facilities capturing a portion of the tourism industry to grow City recreation programs and services. The economic health modeling studies show a Return on Investment (ROI) far exceeding revenue expectations to cover costs of events.

A simplistic way to illustrate this ROI can be seen through one of many research studies that measure the economic impact of recreational programming within cities. The NRPA (National Recreation Parks Association) provides data within a 2010 series of studies showing the economic benefit to taxpayers, small business and public at large. And why other non-profit and private business compete for similar recreation services and events… they can be very profitable!

Balloon Festival, Cook Park 22-24 June 2018

“Positioning Park and Recreation Agencies as Engines of Tourism
in many communities, tourism has successfully positioned itself as a substantial economic engine, a remarkable accomplishment for a relatively recent phenomenon. The conceptualization of tourism as an integrated ‘industry’ is a post 1970 phenomenon. It lacks the long and distinguished pedigree of the park and recreation field. Nevertheless, in the eyes of elected officials in many communities, it has surpassed this field in importance … In most communities, park and recreation agencies are the engines of tourism … For every $1 you invest in us, the community received $60 in return.’ Such claims are rarely challenged and the apparent high return on the investment is widely accepted by legislators, the media, and the general public” (Crompton 2010). But these numbers are not an average. And can vary greatly depending on the economic data entered within any similar study. The point is, there is a ROI that exceeds revenues less operating expense not realized within financial balance sheets. https://www.nrpa.org/uploadedFiles/nrpa.org/Publications_and_Research/Research/Papers/Crompton-Research-Paper.pdf

Although the City of Tigard doesn’t have a recreation center, it does have plenty of parks and downtown plaza space to hold public events. And a full time recreation coordinator who works very hard to bring children and family activities to the community. For example, Pop Up in the Parks offering children various sports, games and crafts for free – This activity is planned on Wednesdays from 11am – 1pm … July 11 (Cook Park), July 18 (Woodard Park) and July 25 (Bonita Park). Then movies in the parks for families begin at dusk on July 21 (Dirksen Nature Park), August 3 (Cook Park), August 11 (Metzger Elementary School Park), and August 17 (Metzger Elementary School Park).

Tigard also has a few large annual events during summertime: balloon festival, 4th of July fireworks display and Street Fair. Other annual City tourist attractions could and should include: Biking, cycling, skateboarding, running and walking events, annual veteran and other celebratory parades, food and hobby fairs; school, veterans, classic car and motorcycle rallies; and any number of cultural arts, food and music themed events.

4th of July Celebration, Tigard High School football field, 2018.

Tigard also has a few large annual events during summertime: balloon festival, 4th of July fireworks display and Street Fair. Other annual City tourist attractions could and should include: Biking, cycling, skateboarding, running and walking events, annual veteran and other celebratory parades, food and hobby fairs; school, veterans, classic car and motorcycle rallies; and any number of cultural arts, food and music themed events.

Our City recreation program is capable of doing much more. “If City recreation is allowed to flourish… by its own charter is driven to cost recover and motivated to generate a small profit, and grow a sustainable business through volunteer networking… and negotiate profit share agreements with other core city services struggling to keep their doors open.” (Woodard 2018, City of Tigard annual budget meeting). It’s the only business model I know of within City governments that use principled best-in-class business practices to cost recover – with a goal of using little to no taxpayer money.

Tigard Street Fair – Latino Fest Down Town Tigard 2017

Like all Cities surrounding Tigard, there are many reasons community leaders support and strategically plan to grow recreation facilities, programs, services and events: 1) they serve to educate and activate bodies with a goal to reduce childhood obesity and improve brain-body coordination and social skills development for kids. 2) Save lives in a different way than policing services – by redirecting youth purpose. 3) Grows small business and supports entrepreneur startup incubators within relative industries. 4) Offers affordable afterschool activities. 5) Supports other city services through profit share agreements. 6) Builds community bonds and sustainable City services through volunteerism, etc.

If you’d like to know more about Tigard City Recreation or interested in supporting or volunteering contact: Recreation@tigard-or.gov or call 503-718-2584.

Good health to you and your family.

Authentic Medieval Swords & Armor

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit: www.mirrorathlete.com.”

 

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About Marc Woodard

As a fit healthy lifestyle author and consultant, retired corporate employee and retired Army officer, I've spent many years taking care of my career goals and financial security.  It is now my time to give something back to my community. Without a healthy mind, body and spirit it is really difficult to move forward to achieve great things in life. To share information is something everyone of us are capable of doing. And to share fitness and health related information with your children is the best thing you could do for them and your community. Saving the health of our nation one person at a time is our goal. Learn more about Marc Woodard @ LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-woodard-94003930/ Good health to you and your family.
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