By Dottie Barnes
Grand Valley State University
The overall economic impact of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on Kent County is $75.2 million, which supports 804 jobs, according to a study by Grand Valley State University researchers.
Economics professors Paul Isely and Christian Glupker, who conducted the study, reported that the annual economic impact of Meijer Gardens came from three components: the impact of visitor spending outside of the venue, the operations of the venue (including what visitors spend inside the venue) and construction spending.
Isely said one way Meijer Gardens adds to the regional economy is by bringing visitors to Kent County.
“As these individuals come to the county to visit, they spend money on food, lodging, entertainment, transportation and other items,” Isely said. “The combined dollar value of this spending translates into greater earnings for area employers and employees, as well as greater job creation.”
Glupker said direct spending by all visitors outside of Meijer Gardens is $22.7 million, with more than 86 percent of this coming from people outside of Kent County.
“The result is a lot of new dollars into Kent County,” Glupker said. “This happens because the venue draws 445,000 visitors from outside Kent County and each of these individuals spends more as a result of a visit to Meijer Gardens than a comparable local visitor.”
David Hooker, president and CEO of Meijer Gardens, commented on the study by saying: “Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has been embraced and supported by our wonderful community. It is with the community’s support that we can further our unique mission of horticulture and sculpture and bring joy to so many people. The Grand Valley study clearly shows the importance and support of the great cultural community that we have.”
Details of the study shows The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park supports or contributes:
• 804 jobs in Kent County annually
• A $75.2 million economic output annually
• Visitors from outside the county who directly spend $19.6 million at businesses around Kent County annually
• Construction that created 39 jobs during the last year
• 86 percent of visitor spending is the result of spending by individuals who do not live in Kent County
• Nonresidents spent an average $129 per group outside the venue during their visit to Meijer Gardens while in Kent County.