This article from IEDC Now is right in line with our needs in Ashtabula County.
Quality of life factors are essential assets to attract workers from the knowledge economy. The creative class has innumerable choice of where to live, so amenities can go a long way in attracting new, talented residents (Governing). Quantifying the economic return on amenity investments, such as parks or bike paths, can be difficult but is necessary to justify the project and sell future ones. The brainpower of local universities can be effectively leant to this process.
An analysis conducted by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute found that property values surrounding Indianapolis’s eight-mile cultural trail have grown 148 percent since 2008 – a return of $1 billion (Indy Star). Admittedly, some of the increase is attributable to property values returning to pre-recession levels. But benefits also extend to local businesses, as 48 percent surveyed reported an increase in sales.
A study by Arizona State University showed Maricopa County that its parks have delivered an ROI of 42 percent – adding $21 million to the regional economy (Phoenix Business Journal). Benefits were also enjoyed by the broader region, as an additional $13.7 million was spent within 10 miles of the parks. In addition to its 10 public parks, Maricopa County is moving forward with 350 miles of hiking, equestrian, and cycling trails.