The York Ballfield Complex, according to a recent economic impact study, attracts more than 35,000 visitors to York per year, with over 25,000 of those visitors spending at least one night in York. Total visitor spending, according to the study, is expected to top $4.6 million per year.

YORK – A study recently conducted by an economist with the economic development department of Nebraska Public Power District shows the financial impact the city’s recreational facilities have on the local economy.

Findings from the study conducted by Brian Williams, NPPD economist, were presented to the York City Council Thursday night.

The study provides estimates of the local economic activity associated with the parks and recreational facilities in York – specifically the aquatic center, community center and ballpark complex.

“The economic impact of a facility refers to the net economic change in the area as a result of visitors from outside of the community traveling to the community and spending at local stores, restaurants, hotels and other venues,” the report’s summary says. “These visitors are bringing new money into the community and will have the largest positive impact on the community.”

The study says the community center attracts an average of 3,314 local visitors from over 15 miles away, each year.

The family aquatic center attracts an annual average of 881 visitors who travel more than 15 miles.

And the study says “with numerous tournaments each summer, the York Ballpark Complex attracts more than 35,000 visitors per year with over 25,000 of those visitors spending at least one night in York.”

In reviewing these three facilities, Williams’ report says “visitor spending is highest for the York Ballpark Complex. Visitors to tournaments held at the complex are estimated to spend $1.77 million annually on lodging, $1.06 million on dining at York restaurants, and an additional $817,730 a year at York’s gasoline stations. Total visitor spending is expected to top $4.6 million per year.

“While many of the visitors to the family aquatic center and community center are local, they are also expected to bring additional spending to the community,” the study’s summary says further. “It is estimated that visitors to the family aquatic center bring an additional $8,730 in spending to York County while visitors to the community center bring an additional $32,845 in spending to York County. This spending is expected to result in over $133,228 in tax revenue for York County, with most of that staying within the city of York.”

The economic findings are that “the total output effects (direct, indirect and induced) associated with spending from visitors at York’s recreational facilities are estimated to be at $4.58 million. Of this total, 99 percent ($4.56 million) is accounted for by visitors to tournaments at the York Ballpark Complex. An estimated 53.3 jobs (in the York business community) are supported by the visitor spending generated by these facilities with a total labor income of over $1.26 million.”

It was noted that – with the exception of the ballfield complex – “the focus of York parks and recreation facilities is primarily to cater to the needs of local residents. As a result (again with the exception of the ballpark complex which attracts many from out of town) the economic impact (of the community center and aquatic center) is relatively small but the operation of those facilities generates activity at a local level and helps to support local businesses.”

Regarding the ballfield complex, the study shows that about “3.5 percent of the teams participating in tournaments are local, 52.2 percent of teams are traveling from a 50-60-mile range and 44.3 percent are traveling greater than 60 miles.” The findings say further it is assumed that an annual average of 540 teams participate in tournaments at the York ballpark complex, with each team bringing an average of 66 visitors including players, coaches and spectators. “With numerous tournaments each summer, the ballfield complex attracts more than 35,000 visitors each year with over 25,000 of those visitors spending at least one night in York,” the report reiterates.

In conclusion, the study says “the economic impact of York’s parks and recreational facilities varies significantly between facilities. With the ability to host tournaments that attract visitors from around the state, the ballpark complex has the greatest economic impact. While the impact for the community center and the aquatic center are small in comparison to the ballpark, that does not diminish their significance. These facilities provide a valuable contribution to the quality of life in York and help to recruit and retain residents. The existence of these facilities also prevents residents from traveling to other communities in search of similar recreational opportunities and retains the associated spending within the community of York. All of these factors are difficult to measure, but can be argued to increase the economic significance of the facilities beyond what is reported in this study.”

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