Feb 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

The best (and worst) cities for public parks

Data: Trust for Public Land; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Trust for Public Land; Chart: Axios Visuals

As snow pelts so many cold-weather cities, it's warming to remember that many are home to splendid parks where one can social-distance year-round.

Where it stands: The Trust for Public Land — which last year spent $45.7 million building new playgrounds in city parks, per Salon — ranks nearly 100 cities by the quality of their parks.

  • Minneapolis pulled ahead of Washington, D.C. to take the top spot in 2020.
  • Cities were awarded points for amenities like playgrounds, basketball hoops, off-leash dog runs, restrooms and recreation and senior centers.
  • The criteria included "the percentage of the population living within a 10-minute (half-mile) walk of a public park."

The other side: The lowest ranked cities were: Oklahoma City, Okla. (which came in last), Mesa, Ariz;, Charlotte, N.C. and Fort Worth, Tex.

Details: "Rust Belt cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis are in the top 15 — thanks to extensive park systems," Salon reports.

  • "The low rankings of some cities, including Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma City, and Fresno, Stockton and Santa Ana, California, are echoes of racist municipal history, city leaders disconnected from residents, or fiscal and natural disasters."

The bottom line: The Trust for Public Land says it is "leading a national campaign to ensure that every person in America has access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home. "

  • You can look up out where your city ranks here.
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