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Feature Story

June 2019


Washington, D.C., Unseats Minneapolis as Best City Park System

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Survey: Half of Americans Use the Pool as a 'Communal Bathtub' - June 2019

NFL Foundation Helps to Advance Youth Wellness - June 2019

Youth Sports Participation Holds Steady in 2018 - June 2019

Dog Parks Still on the Rise - May 2019

USA Swimming Grants Will Boost Learn-to-Swim Programs - May 2019

IHRSA: One in Five Americans Belong to at Least One Health Club - May 2019

New Program Aims to Grow Pickleball & Tennis - May 2019

IHRSA Reports on Health Club Compensation - April 2019

Grant Funding Brings Parks Closer to People in 10 Cities - April 2019

Note & Float Program Reaches Lifesaving Milestone - April 2019

Fund Established to Assist Aspiring Women Coaches - April 2019

Applications Open for ESPN RePlay Program - April 2019

NRPA Offers Play Space Grants - March 2019

Smarter Lifeguard Management - March 2019

U.S. Soccer Foundation Aims to Boost Female Participation - March 2019

In Oregon, Outdoor Recreation Saves $1.4 Billion in Healthcare Costs - March 2019

Survey: Communities Should Support Pollinators - February 2019

NSPF, APSP Unite to Form Pool & Hot Tub Alliance - February 2019

Guide Aims to Help Gyms Implement Diabetes Prevention - February 2019

Senior Living Continues Shift Toward Wellness - February 2019

Partnership Aims to Expand Play Opportunities - January 2019

Grant Funds Help Educate Pool Operators - January 2019

NFL Foundation Grants Boost Local Football Fields - January 2019

Leaders Recognized for Advancing Outdoor Recreation - January 2019

Goldfish Swim School Sponsors USA Swimming Foundation - December 2018

Physical Activity for Kids Gets Low Grade - December 2018

New Law Helps Sports Medicine Professionals & Athletes - December 2018

Outdoor Recreation Adds Billions to U.S. Economy - November 2018

Nearly $1 Million in Pool Grants Awarded - November 2018

Report: One in Four Americans Use a Health Club - November 2018

New Active Transportation Program Aims to Boost Health & Environment - November 2018

Foundation Celebrates Sports Innovations - October 2018

Grant Awarded to Chattanooga Nature Play Area - October 2018

Obesity Continues to Challenge America's Health - October 2018

Grant Program Funds Keep America Beautiful Initiatives - October 2018

Nation's Pediatricians Emphasize Power of Play - October 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers - September 2018

Pickleball Benefits Older Adults - September 2018

NSPF Endorses MAHC Adoption - September 2018

Cities Spend More on Public Parks in 2018 - September 2018

Be Ready for Back-to-School Sports - August 2018

NRPA, Pool Safely Partner on Water & Recreation Safety - August 2018

States Make Progress Toward Active Transportation - August 2018

IHRSA Briefing Looks at Club Employees vs. Contractors - August 2018

ACSM & Wellcoaches Expand Offerings for Fitness Pros - July 2018

Grants Help Local Trail Projects - July 2018

Grant to Boost Meals & Nutrition for Kids - July 2018

Trust for Public Land Releases ParkServe Database - July 2018

CPSC Asks for Vigilance to Prevent Child Drowning - July 2018

TPL Earns NEA Grant to Explore Creative Placemaking - June 2018

High Visa Denial Rates Could Affect Pools - June 2018

Make a Splash Campaign Teaches Millions to Swim - June 2018

Communities Can Earn Grants for Dog Park Development - June 2018

By Chandler Garland

The Trust for Public Land's 2019 ParkScore index has named Washington, D.C., as the Best City Park System in the United States. This is a leap for the city, which barely outranked Arlington, Va., for third place in the 2018 index. D.C. also unseated the three-year reigning ParkScore champion, Minneapolis, which fell to third place. St. Paul, Minn., maintained its rank of second place.

ParkScore rankings are based equally on four factors:

  1. Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park.
  2. Park acreage, which is based on a city's median park size and the percentage of city area dedicated to parks.
  3. Park investment, which measures park spending per resident.
  4. Park amenities, which counts the availability of six popular park features: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, splash pads and other water play structures, recreation and senior centers, and restrooms.

ParkScore champion Washington scored well on all ParkScore rating factors. In Washington, 98 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and 21 percent of city area is reserved for parks. The city's small median park size (1.4 acres) trailed second-place finisher Saint Paul (3.2 acres) and third-place Minneapolis (5.7 acres), but the city's improvements to park amenities pulled Washington slightly ahead of the Twin Cities to earn the top spot in the rankings.

"D.C. is truly a city of parks that serve as hubs of activity and beauty for neighborhoods and provide substantial social, economic and health benefits to our residents," said Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser. "We've invested more than $200 million to ensure all residents have access to playgrounds, nature trails and other public parks that have made D.C.'s park system the envy of cities across the nation."

The ParkScore index also reports that 72 percent of residents in the 100 largest U.S. cities live within a 10-minute walk of a park, up from 70 percent last year. Today, there are 23,727 parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities, yet 11.2 million people in those cities do not have a park within a 10-minute walk of home, according to The Trust for Public Land.

According to The Trust for Public Land, the 10 highest ranking park systems in the United States are:

  1. Washington, D.C. (83.8)
  2. Saint Paul, Minn. (83.2)
  3. Minneapolis (81.8)
  4. Arlington, Va. (81.3)
  5. Portland, Ore. (79.7)
  6. Irvine, Calif. (79.2)
  7. San Francisco (79)
  8. Cincinnati (78.3)
  9. New York (76)
  10. Chicago (75.4)

Municipal leaders use ParkScore information to guide park improvement efforts, studying park access on a block-by-block basis and pinpointing the areas where new parks are needed most. The ParkScore website, www.tpl.org/parkscore, is free and available to the public, empowering residents to hold their elected leaders accountable for achieving equitable access to quality parks for all.