The Benefits of Parks and Recreation
There are certainly a myriad of different benefits that can be accrued from participation in recreation programs or a visit to a park or open space. It can be stress relief from a walk in the park for a world-weary adult. It can be the sense of exhilaration and accomplishment for the six-year-old who connects bat to ball for the very first time. It can be the positive feeling of exhaustion that Conservatory volunteers feel at the end of a day knowing they are making a difference in their community. Or it might be that intangible sense of connection people feel when gathered with others enjoying a summer concert.
Access to parks and recreation facilities leads to healthy lifestyles for people of all ages! Games children play, whether it's in a sports league or summer camp, encourage the development of socialization skills and improves coordination and self-esteem. Play involves teamwork, learning to be a leader and sharing with fellow teammates. 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 an individual spends exercising increases life expectancy by two hours. The Park District provides nearly 50 fitness classes weekly and 18 parks and 84 acres of green space for Oak Park residents. And did you know, 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 contributes to the environmental health of our community.
FAMILY & COMMUNITY BENEFITS:
Families that play together, stay together. Parks and recreation programs are a means to provide families opportunities to spend important quality time together to build strong family bonds. 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! 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 healthy activities that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities. The Park District provides places to make community connections such as at our Day In Our Village Summer Carnival, our ice arena and many other facilities and special events. Parks have a value to communities that transcend the amount of dollars invested or the revenues gained from fees. The Park District strives to build a sense of public pride and cohesion amongst all Oak Parkers as we significantly impact the quality of life in the Oak Park community .
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!
Recreation programs and facilities generate revenue directly from fees and charges, but more importantly, provide significant indirect revenues to local and regional economies from visitors to the Oak Park Conservatory, Ridgeland Common Ice Arena and special events such as the annual Frank Lloyd Wright Races and Fall Fest. Economic activity from hospitality expenditures, tourism, fuel, sports equipment sales, and many other private sector businesses is of true and sustained value to local and regional economies.
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A recent Statewide Survey of Illinois residents shows the vast majority believe that park districts are good stewards of their tax dollars.
See more ways the Park District of Oak Park Impacts the Quality of Life in Our Community here