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The James River Park System (JRPS), “a Little Bit of Wilderness in the Heart of the City,” is a unique part of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. With 550 acres of shoreline and islands in the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the JRPS extends in 14 sections from the Huguenot Bridge (West) to a half mile beyond the I-95 Bridge (East). It includes most of the fall line of the James River, and features rocks, rapids, meadows, and forests that make for an area of unspoiled natural beauty.
Large cities around the United States routinely engage researchers to examine the economic value of their Park Systems. These efforts generally assess seven core criteria including (1) property values, (2) revenue associated with tourism, (3) direct use, (4) health, (5) community cohesion, (6) clean water and (7) clean air.
This study, the first of its kind for the JRPS, was conducted between November 2016 and March 2017. Due to the tight timeframe, the authors examined only a subset of these factors: property values and tourism. They offer evidence of the value – to all Richmond citizens and to the City – of JRPS’ natural areas, attracting more visitors than any other Metro Richmond destinations.
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VCU Psychology Publications