The economic benefits of greenways and trails to the surrounding region are numerous. An economic impact study completed by Econsult, Inc. and Greenways, Inc. in February 2007 measures estimated benefits to a fully built-out 15-county regional trail. Thank you to the Women’s Impact Fund for their generous grant which funded the study. Its conclusions are substantial and include:
Increased Property Values
Homes in the affected area of the Carolina Thread Trail are estimated to increase approximately 4% in value.
Outdoor Recreation Facilities Attract Tourists
The trail is expected to not only bring new visitors and tourists to the region and inject new dollars into the local economy, but also promote connectivity between tourist destinations for visitors, as well as local residents.
Economic Benefits from Investment in Trail Construction
Including development costs, the construction investment over a 15-year period (the proposed period of construction) is estimated at over $100 million. This investment will generate significant economic benefits, including jobs for the local communities and the region.
Enhanced Ability to Attract and Retain Business
Information from industry professionals and site selection firms supports the significance of greenspace and trails for business development and attraction. The trail will create a strong draw for young professionals choosing to reside in or relocate to the area.
Less Costly Cleanup of Polluted Water and Air
Reduced runoff associated with the greenway landscapes of the trail can mitigate storm water management and treatment concerns. Additionally, the associated tree cover within the greenway can contribute significantly to the air quality by potentially removing tons of particulate matter per year. Encouraging and implementing these natural enhancements can result in less costly cleanup of polluted water and help reduce health costs from respiratory illnesses associated with air pollution.