PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study prepared by a regional watchdog group  finds there’s a lot of value in “open space.”

Define open space as any place where there are no buildings: places like parks, farms, forests, even athletic fields and recreation areas — you get the idea.

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Steve Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, says their study backs up the long held claims from planners and conservation leaders that there is real economic value in “open space” areas in the five-county Philadelphia region.

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“On average, each home in the region is worth about another $10,000 as a result of the proximity to parks and open space,” said Wray.   “Ninety percent of the homes in the region are within a mile or some sort of protected open space, and that makes a difference.  We kind of thought that, but now we’re able to isolate that.”

He says the study also finds that open spaces save taxpayers money by serving as buffers and filters for clean water, provide a habitat for wildlife, and even help clean the air.

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Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio 1060.