Charlestown Open Space Provides Economic Payback

Photo by Cliff Vanover

On Monday, June 1, a “YES” vote on Warrant Questions 1 and 2 will protect open space for conservation and public access, and provide economic benefits for generations to come.

In 2010, the Trust for Public Land released their report, The Economic Benefits and Fiscal Impacts of Parks and Open Space in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. The study found that parks and open space provide a $2.74 billion annual economic boon to local governments and taxpayers on Long Island. The report details how conservation of parks and open space generates income and increases property values, even as it reduces the costs associated with new government services, if the land were developed.

Parks and open space reduce the cost of government services, such as schools, police, roads, and other public services associated with residential development. When both property tax revenues and expenditures for services are taken into account, it becomes clear that residential development is more costly to local governments than are parks and open space.

Fiscal analysis of development north of Rt. 1 in Charlestown has shown these same results. See a fiscal analysis of South Farm Preserve.

Photo by Cliff Vanover

Similar economic studies have been done throughout the country with the same results and also show these other economic benefits:

  • Parks and open space are a key component of the tourism industry
  • Economic benefit of improved health and fitness because of access to trails, etc.
  • Farmland preservation helps sustain the agriculture industry
  • Parks and open space have a positive impact on nearby residential property values
  • Land conservation is an effective tool for protecting clean ground water
  • Protected open space reduces the cost of managing stormwater
  • Forests and other natural areas result in cleaner air
  • Watershed protection is crucial to fish and shelfish production, providing food, protection, and spawning areas for a number of species
  • Trees sequester carbon and reduce the costs of climate change.
  • Trees cool the air, reducing the need for air conditioning.

Please vote “YES” on Warrant Questions 1 and 2 (the open space questions) to support Charlestown’s environment and economy.