I have a vested interest in the community where I work and live. When hearing about plans for a park or trail, I listen. Not only do I use them, I have seen the positive impact public outdoor space can have in local communities. Honest.
Work experience influences how I think parks and walking trails affect a community. A deeper dive into the historical data complements my opinion.
Being in the real estate business, I'm often (almost always) thinking about home values.
There are many items that affect market value.
Negatives may include:
Deferred or neglected maintenance
Outdated kitchens and bathrooms
Smart home improvements
Updated kitchens and bathrooms
Parks and trails
Speaking of crime, the National Association of Realtors reports: " ....recent studies have confirmed living near trails and greenways will likely raise your property value an average of 3-5% and sometimes even as high as 15%. There is also not correlation that trails increase crime in their surrounding areas."
Does this mean that if a new trail goes by your home, your home's value goes up by 15% the next day? Probably not, but it is a factor. And my opinion is that adjacent or nearby parks and trails *do* add value to homes.
It's important to note that as of this writing (March 2023) the market for sellers is very good. People are buying homes with outdated kitchens. Almost all homes are selling quickly. However, there is still is a value discrepancy between homes with added features and those without. Those features may be an updated or timeless kitchen. It could also be proximity to a safe, easy walk in the woods.
Concern and pushback from the local residents is common when plans for public recreation are announced. I'd be most concerned if no one cared to ask questions. Listening to the community is one of the most important steps when planning outdoor public space. There is opportunity to learn from neighbors and then adjust or even scrap a plan. There is also opportunity to educate neighbors so they will better understand how a park or trail may affect their lives.
Steve Voorhees is a Realtor with:
Re/Max 1st Advantage (717-591-5555)
6375 Mercury Drive - Mechanicsburg, PA
Economic Development Journal, Jan. 1, 2020
National Association of Realtors (www.nar.realtor)
Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (May 2013)
American Trails, Sep. 2000
Governing.com, Nov. 4, 2021