UA Report Says Garvan Woodland Gardens Means $5.8M to State's Economy

by Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 8:25 am  

The UA report says that every $1 spent in connection with Garvan Woodland Gardens has an economic impact of $1.78 in Garland County and $1.82 in the state. (Photo by Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism)

Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs means a $5.8 million economic impact to Arkansas, with most of the money, about $5.3 million, felt in Garland County and Hot Springs, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

The report, written by center director Kathy Deck and her staff and commissioned by gardens executive director Bob Bledsoe, said those figures cover direct and indirect effects based on:

  • The construction and operations dollars spent by the Garvan Woodland Gardens in a year
  • The impact on businesses working for and supplying the Gardens
  • The money spent by visitors at the gardens and in other parts of Hot Springs
  • And the 60 full-€time equivalent jobs created both at Garvan Woodland Gardens and by businesses supplying and supporting the gardens.

The report concludes that every $1 spent in connection with Garvan Woodland Gardens has an economic impact of $1.78 in Garland County and $1.82 in the state.

The report also said the gardens generate about $283,000 in state and local taxes, most of that -- $259,000 -- in Garland County. Taxes include income, sales and property taxes received from employees, companies and households.

The gardens set a paid admissions record in fiscal year 2012, with 138,478 admissions. The annual Holiday Lights event drew about 60,000 visitors in November and December. School field trips and tours attracted 1,538 visitors last year and 1,369 attended 55 educational programs for adults.

The report said most visitors -- 73 percent -- come from Arkansas; 19.5 percent are from Texas or other neighboring states; and about 8 percent are tourists from other states or foreign countries.

Verna Cook Garvan, a southern Arkansas businesswoman, founded Garvan Woodland Gardens and bequeathed the property to the department of landscape architecture at the UA in 1993. Since then, it has grown into a 210‐acre botanical garden and is operated as a department of UA's Fay Jones School of Architecture.

The gardens also receive support from the state Legislature, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, private donors, and 2,776 members.



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