In 2022, the Fairmount Park Conservancy commissioned Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) to conduct an economic impact analysis on FDR Park, which included quantifying the environmental and health/recreation benefits.
FDR Park, a 348 acre public space in South Philadelphia has been used in a variety of ways throughout its century-long history. In 2021, the Fairmount Park Conservancy released its new Master Plan, focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphians and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
Using IMPLAN’s input-output model, ESI calculated the economic and fiscal impact of annualized park visitation, the park’s redevelopment (including one-time construction impacts), the operational impact of the redeveloped park, and the visitor impact of the redeveloped park, including new events and land uses.
The second part of the report covers FDR Park’s economic return on environment, for the current conditions as well as those following the planned redevelopment. ESI used values from a 2006 study from Costanza and the U.S. Forest Service’s i-Tree Vue model to calculate environmental service benefits and air pollution/carbon sequestration benefits, respectively. ESI found that the total annual environmental benefits would increase from $165,100 to $486,100 with the Master Plan implemented. Additionally, the economic value of the park’s lifetime carbon storage would increase from $87,700 to $132,700.
Lastly, ESI also quantified the recreation and health benefits the park provides for Philadelphians. Over 5.3 million people visited FDR Park in 2022, and its total annual recreation value exceeded $1.4 million. Accounting for direct and indirect medical cost and worker’s compensation savings, as well as lost productivity savings, FDR Park creates an annual healthcare and workplace savings of $9,733,000.