Montco’s Open Spaces: How Many Greenbacks Does All That Green Represent?

stream in the woods
Image via Only in Your State.
Norristown Farm Park.

Putting a dollar amount on something as seemingly intangible the value of open space in Montgomery County is difficult. Nonetheless, it’s been done, as reported by Rachel Ravina in Lancaster Farming.

The data emerged from a 2011 Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Southeastern Corporation study. Despite its age, its intricate details on the county’s 46,022 open acreage are still relevant.

The analysis covered four aspects to undeveloped land:

  • Direct use benefits
  • Economic activity
  • Environmental services
  • Home and property values

Direct Use Benefits

The data yielded $219 million in annual recreation benefits to Montgomery County residents. These savings were attributed to healthier lifestyles from enjoying the county’s outdoor assets.

Economic Activity

The county’s protected woodlands, parks, and fields produce $160 million annual economic impact. They also support $49 million in annual salaries for 1,555 jobs.

Environmental Services

All that oxygen exchange and fresh-water supply save $31.6 million annually from budgets dedicated to air pollution removal and wildlife habitat conservation.

Home and Property Values

Protected open space boosts the value of homes in its proximity by a $2.8 billion value-add. That’s $11,300 on average for each home located within a half-mile of undeveloped real estate.

More on the economic impact of Montgomery County open space is at Lancaster Farming.