Birmingham Times Staff
July is National Park and Recreation Month, and staying active can be a big-time money-saver. Plus, why not get a return on all the money we invest in green space? In addition to the roughly 84 million acres of land that Uncle Sam has set aside for national parks – property conservatively valued at approximately $340 billion, according to WalletHub research – major U.S. cities collectively spend more than $6.9 billion on parks and recreation in 2015.
Fortunately, we get a lot out of this wallet workout. Neighborhood parks are instrumental to building community cohesion, boosting property values, improving public health and reducing pollution. In Washington, for instance, close proximity to a park increases a home’s value by 5 percent. And neighborhood parks in Sacramento, Calif., contribute nearly $20 million in health-care savings.
Birmingham, which ranks 35 on the list of the top 50 on WalletHub’s list, has 10.39 music venues per 100,000 residents, ranking it 21 on the list. We also have 29.29 coffee and tea shops per 100,000 residents, making it 38 on the list.
There are 3.41 golf courses per 100,000 residents, and 1.42 bike rental facilities per 100,000 residents. For fishing spots, we rank at 32, with only 0.94 spots per 100,000 residents. In hiking trails there are 0.47 trails per 100,000 residents, putting the city at 36 on the list. The average fitness club fee is $33.88, making it 39 on the list.