Quick Takeaways

  • Parks and other outdoor features, like trails and greenways, have always provided immeasurable health benefits to communities, but were perhaps more invaluable ever during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Greenways and trails stimulate the economy through construction, tourism, and luring new businesses
  • The recently passed Infrastructure and Jobs Act is great news for trails and greenways, increasing the amount of federal spending by 70% for the Transportation Alternatives Program

Source: Trails, Greenways and Parks Infrastructure Boost Economic Activity and Help Residents Live Healthier Lives (American City & Country, Nov. 15, 2021)

Trails and greenways are similar, but do have some major differences. Most people are familiar with trails, which can be used for hiking, walking, running and cycling through both rural and urban areas. Greenways, however, are corridors of open space that generally run through urban areas. Though greenways often contain trails, sometimes they are there to protect a natural feature and are not for human use.

Trails and Greenways bring obvious benefits – getting people outdoors, providing access to free exercise, providing safe transportation alternatives, and creating a community to name a few. However, greenways often turn old and unused infrastructure, like train tracks, into popular destinations. In a catch-22 situation, this also spurs gentrification, which can be detrimental to current residents of communities.

Property values are of utmost importance to homeowners, and living near a park, trail, or greenway may is certainly something to take into consideration. The good news is that recent studies have confirmed living near trails and greenways will likely raise your property value an average of 3-5% and sometimes even as high as 15%. There is also not correlation that trails increase crime in their surrounding areas.

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