Jun 2, 2023 - Climate

Cleveland falls out of top 25 cities for parks

Data: ParkScore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Cleveland ranks 26th among the 100 largest U.S. cities for its public parks, per the latest report from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a pro-parks nonprofit, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • The group rates cities on a variety of metrics, including the percentage of residents who live near a park, the share of city land reserved for parks, parks investment and more; cities are then awarded a "ParkScore."

By the numbers: Cleveland scored 74 out of 100 for access, 32 for acreage, 66 for investment, 60 for amenities and 71 for equity.

Details: Eighty-three percent of Cleveland residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, above the national average of 76%.

The intrigue: Cleveland fell three spots from its ranking in 2022, but TPL noted in a statement that the city’s "slight dip resulted primarily from positive moves by other cities, not changes to the local park system."

Why it matters: Parks confer a wealth of benefits — including, as TPL points out in its latest annual report, significant health boosts.

  • Parks offer spaces for physical activity and social gatherings, improve visitors' moods, and provide city dwellers a reprieve from noise and air pollution and the effects of climate change.

The big picture: At a national level, parks spending hasn't recovered to pre-Great Recession levels, says TPL senior director for strategy and innovation Linda Hwang.

  • But that's largely driven by the country's biggest cities — by contrast, many midsize cities are increasing their parks spending.

Zoom in: Cleveland last month announced its first-ever master planning process for the city's parks and recreation amenities.

What they're saying: "This plan is all about access and equity, removing barriers, building community, and creating places and experiences that enrich peoples’ lives," Mayor Justin Bibb said in a statement.

What's next: The landscape architecture firm Olin will be in town next week to visit city parks and rec centers and interview stakeholders, a city hall spokesperson told Axios.

  • Formal community engagement is likely to begin in late June or early July.

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