Chester County's protected open space drives a significant amount of economic activity. Return on Environment estimates the spending, employment, earnings, and tax revenues associated with the following activities:
- Agricultural activities occurring on protected farmland
- Management and maintenance expenditures at public parks (federal, state, county, and municipal)
- Expenditures associated with protected open space tourism
Collectively, protected open space generates:
$238 million in annual expenditures
$69 million in annual salaries
$4.3 million in state and local tax revenues
Annually, farmers of protected farmland put about $135 million back into the economy through expenses paid for goods and services in order to produce their farm products. These farms employ 640 people, and an estimated 240 other jobs exist in service of these farms. Salaries paid to workers in jobs related to the agricultural activity that takes place on protected farmland total approximately $29 million per year.
Maintenance of Public Parks
Money spent on the management and maintenance of public parks accounts for an estimated $43 million. An additional $37 million in spending is generated as a result of public spending for parks. Over one third (680 positions) of all employment generated by protected open space are jobs related to the management and administration of public parks and jobs that exist to support these parks, such as selling and repairing equipment. Salaries earned from these jobs total to $32 million per year.
Photo credit: Jeff Moreau
Open Space Tourism
Tourist activity associated with protected open space in the form of travel spending generates approximately $14 million in annual direct expenditures, which in turn supports an additional $9 million in indirect and induced expenditures. Jobs in Chester County's tourism industry that can be attributed to protected open space account for an estimated 240 positions, and these employees earn approximately $8 million annually.
Tax Revenues Generated by Protected Open Space
The economic activity discussed above generates tax revenues via income, sales, and business taxes. All economic activity associated with protected open space in Chester County yields an estimated $4.3 million annually in state and local taxes. State tax revenues make up 80 percent of this estimate; local tax revenues account for the remaining 20 percent. Activities on protected farmland generate about half (51 percent) of state tax revenues, whereas open space-related tourism generates the bulk of local tax revenues (69 percent).