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Inspecting Parks on a Yearly Basis

San Francisco Chroncle

Park not making the grade, San Francisco Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle blog City Insider points us to the city controller’s recently released annual review of city parks. San Francisco is unique in that it requires the controller to conduct an inspection and report on each and every park in the city.  Here’s a summary of what’s reported (full report in pdf here):

San Francisco’s public parks have improved slightly [since last year], but the worst ones remain in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, according to a new report from the city Controller’s office.Overall, the city’s parks scored better in this year’s annual review, scoring an average of 86.2 percent compared to last year’s 83.7 percent. In other words, they’re still a solid B. “Generally, we’re pleased that the parks are improving,” said Lisa Seitz Gruwell, spokeswoman for the Recreation & Parks Department, which manages the city’s 240 parks. “There are still some parks that need work. That’s definitely where we need to focus more.”

The report grades parks on the condition of their trees, lawns, benches and play areas. The local Neighborhood Parks Council has used the study to advocate for improvements and plans to improve each park.

The reports, especially when guaranteed to occur by the city in SF,  can help form a consistent picture of what shape parks are in and how well the city is doing at addressing the problems. In some cities, such as with the group New Yorkers for Parks, non-profits offer ratings to make sure the city is kept aware of the condition of all of its parks.

(Its also interesting that the most unkempt parks are those in poor areas of the city, as sadly seen in so many other municipalities. The proposed budget cuts to SF’s parks won’t have any positive affect on this.)

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