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Benefits of Parks and Recreation

The Benefits of Parks and Recreation

Parks can be such a constant in our lives that we may not give them much thought, unless you work for the Park District!  But our 83 acres of parks and recreation facilities do not just happen on their own.  They require care and support, both physical and financial,  to keep them clean, safe and suitable to serve the community of Oak Park.


Access to parks and recreation facilities leads to healthy lifestyles for people of all ages!   Strong evidence shows that when people have access to parks, they exercise more - and every time sedentary people walk a mile, they add 21 minutes to their life!  On average, every hour you spend exercising increases your life expectancy by two hours. Additionally, physical activity even increases the brain’s capacity for learning.

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Parks, open spaces and trails play a key role in preserving water and air quality, reducing congestion and protecting wildlife. Through the provision of parks, open spaces and protected natural environment, recreation can contribute to the environmental health of our community.


Parks are a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. They provide identity for citizens and are a source of community pride. Parks and recreation services are often cited in surveys as one of the most important factors  in determining the livability of a community.

The Park District of Oak Park contributes to Oak Park's vital identity. Well-maintained, accessible parks and recreation facilities are key elements of our strong, safe, family-friendly community!  When citizens get involved with their parks and recreation systems, their quality of life improves.   Parks and recreation opportunities encourage citizens to be engaged in their communities – as volunteers, stewards, advocates and students.  Community recreation reduces alienation, loneliness, and anti-social behavior. 

Our parks and recreation programs provide places for health and well-being that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities. They provide places to make community connections such as at our summer concert series, our ice arena and our special events. Parks have a value to communities that transcend the amount of dollars invested or the revenues gained from fees - we strive to help provide a sense of public pride and cohesion to all Oak Parkers.


Parks enhance property values, contribute to healthy and productive workforces and help attract and retain businesses.  Parks and recreation facilities make communities desirable places to live, work, play and visit!
Parks and recreation programs generate revenue directly from fees and charges, but more importantly, provide significant indirect revenues to local and regional economies from sports tournaments and special events such as arts, music, and other festivals. Economic activity from hospitality expenditures, tourism, fuel, recreational equipment sales, and many other private sector businesses is of true and sustained value to local and regional economies.

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