The Oklahoma City Community Foundation recently released a study about the public parks in the metropolitan area that was conducted by the Steven Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute in the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University.
The Community Foundation commissioned the comprehensive study of the Oklahoma City park system last year. The study was completed this spring and is available for public review at the link: http://www.occf.org/documents/ParksStudyfinal.pdf
The study focused on the following three goals:
· A review of the operational costs of the newly-renovated Myriad Botanical Gardens, the Bicentennial Park and the proposed MAPS 3 Central Park; an examination of how increases in park-related costs will be absorbed into the city's budget.
· An assessment of the current park system of Oklahoma City with an emphasis on the role of parks in the municipal fiscal setting; the city's economic and demographic characteristics and their significance for park facilities; and the parks' safety and security as indicated by crime statistics.
· An assessment of the city's park system within the context of a widely-used set of seven measures of an excellent park system developed by the Trust for Public Land.
The results have been shared with city leaders. The study was led by Steven C. Agee, professor of economics and interim dean of the Meinders School of Business. Larkin Warner, professor emeritus at Oklahoma State University, assisted him along with several students at OCU’s Economic Research & Policy Institute.
“For the past 20 years, the beautification of public lands and parks has been a key initiative for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation,” said Nancy B. Anthony, executive director of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “Due to our commitment, we sought an objective overview of the park system in Oklahoma City. We believe this study provides an opportunity to develop a road map for us and for city leaders as we work to enhance the public parks in our community. We appreciate the hard work of Dr. Agee and his OCU team on this project.”
Agee said the study allowed students in the economic research and policy institute the opportunity to conduct applied research and data collection methods for an important economic issue facing the City of Oklahoma City.
“I think this study will be particularly helpful to policymakers within the city to determine the most efficient means to consider costs of the new MAPS III projects, specifically the new Central Park, and alternative means to pay for those costs. All city residents, whether they regularly use the parks or not, will find this comprehensive study interesting,” he said.