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ParkScore: Minneapolis is #1

ParkScore badges_Instagram_2017_1 Minneapolis

Congratulations to the Minneapolis Parks Board and the City of Minneapolis for being number one for the FIFTH year in a row! Minneapolis has a park within a ten-minute walk of 97 percent of their citizens, with 15 percent of the city as parkland and a median park size of 6.6 acres.  You can check out all of the details here or check out their map here.

Click on the photo to view the Minneapolis ParkScore profile and score results or here.

Better yet, make plans to join 1,000 park advocates, planners, programmers and managers at the Greater & Greener Parks Conference in Minneapolis and St. Paul (#2) July 29-August 2 and see the number 1 and 2 city parks systems for yourself.

Sheridan Memorial Park_Trust for Public Land Event_05-24-2017_61H

Micheal Langley (Greater MSP), Charlie McCabe (The Trust for Public Land), Jayne Miller (Minneapolis Parks Board) and Melvin Tennant (MeetMinneapolis) celebrate the fifth #1 win in a row)

ParkScore 2017 has arrived!

renditionDownload

The Trust for Public Land is pleased to announce that the 2017 edition of ParkScore is live.  Visit and find out where all of the 100 largest US cities rank.  Minneapolis has once again come out on top, with St. Paul in 2nd place. [And you can can experience them in person through the City Park Alliance Greater & Greener Conference July 29-August 2.]

A big thanks to all of the Parks and Recreation agencies in the 100 largest cities. Assembling all of the data, especially the GIS information, is a big job and we couldn’t do it without each city’s help and support.  We truly appreciate it.

We’re also doing a big promotional push and we have a number of media reports published, this update is from Thursday evening, May 25.

Chicago:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-park-score-ranking-met-20170524-story.html

WGN Radio – Adrian Benepe interview

Washington, D.C.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/parks-in-dc-and-arlington-lose-ground-to-west-coast-in-ranking-report-says/2017/05/23/731b3f7c-3fe7-11e7-8c25-44d09ff5a4a8_story.html?utm_term=.28647ebfab93

http://wtop.com/dc/2017/05/dog-parks-playgrounds-dcs-green-spaces-measure/

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Washington-Arlington-Rank-in-Top-10-for-Parks-423959033.html

http://dcist.com/2017/05/parkscore_2017.php

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/dc/dc-va-parks-among-top-in-nation/442557951

Twin Cities:

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-parks-named-tops-in-the-nation-and-st-paul-comes-in-second/423970983/

http://www.twincities.com/2017/05/23/twin-cities-have-best-parks-systems-in-nation-says-trust-for-public-land/

http://www.fox9.com/news/256660112-story

http://www.kare11.com/entertainment/television/programs/kare-11-sunrise/twin-cities-earn-top-park-honors-in-the-us/442464085

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/05/24/minneapolis-named-nations-best-park-system-again

https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/05/why-minneapolis-keeps-topping-rankings-nations-best-park-system

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/05/24/minneapolis-parks-best-in-u-s/

New York:

http://www.amny.com/news/nyc-ranked-7th-for-best-parks-in-the-country-behind-sf-and-portland-1.13658767

WNYC – Interview with Adrian Benepe.

Buffalo:

http://buffalonews.com/2017/05/25/buffalos-park-system-about-average-nationally-group-says/

New Jersey:

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2017/05/in_ranking_100_us_cities_for_parks_jersey_city_is.html

Colorado:

www.denverpost.com/2017/05/23/denver-population-density-open-space/

http://303magazine.com/2017/05/denver-parks-1/

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/open-space-per-resident-shrinks-below-national-average-as-denver-swells-with-new-residents

http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-behind-national-average-in-funding-parks-study-finds/article/1603795

http://www.9news.com/news/local/three-colorado-cities-have-top-park-honors-in-us/442755937

San Francisco

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-ranks-3rd-among-U-S-cities-for-parks-and-11168321.php

Los Angeles:

http://www.presstelegram.com/lifestyle/20170523/long-beach-one-of-the-best-us-cities-for-access-to-local-parks

http://laist.com/2017/05/24/las_parkscore_drops_to_74.php

http://mynewsla.com/orange-county/2017/05/24/irvine-among-top-10-in-country-for-park-access-la-tumbles-to-74th-in-nation/

Fresno:

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article152291507.html

Sacramento:

http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article152476764.html

San Diego:

http://timesofsandiego.com/life/2017/05/24/san-diego-chula-vista-parks-get-high-rankings/

http://fox5sandiego.com/2017/05/24/san-diego-among-top-15-us-park-systems/

Anchorage:

http://www.youralaskalink.com/news/anchorage-ranks-st-earning-park-benches-from-the-release-parkscore/article_6b463f76-40c9-11e7-a979-274e03447378.html

Atlanta:

http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/atlanta-parks-system-ranked-50th-among-100-big-cities/KFWQeUUbWRdwyGiQkpiIlO/

http://saportareport.com/trust-public-land-ranks-atlantas-parkscore-stuck-middle/

http://news.wabe.org/post/why-atlanta-ranks-only-50th-public-parks-index

Fort Wayne:

http://www.news-sentinel.com/news/local/fort_wayne_tied_for_last_in_ratings_of_park_systems_in_100_largest_us_cities_20170525&profile=1008

http://wane.com/2017/05/24/study-ranks-fort-wayne-parks-worst-among-large-cities/

Louisville:

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/life/2017/05/25/louisvilles-parks-among-nations-worst/343970001/

New Orleans:

http://www.nola.com/living/index.ssf/2017/05/parks_score_new_orleans_37th_1.html

Jacksonville:

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-05-24/report-ranks-jacksonville-s-parks-90th-nation-out-100-biggest-citieshttp:/jacksonville.com/news/metro/2017-05-24/report-ranks-jacksonville-s-parks-90th-nation-out-100-biggest-cities

Cleveland/Toledo:

http://wksu.org/post/cleveland-parks-score-middle-pack-according-new-study#stream/0

http://www.wtol.com/story/35507883/toledo-parks-rank-63rd-out-of-100-most-populous-cities-in-the-us

http://www.wtol.com/story/35507883/toledo-parks-rank-63rd-out-of-100-most-populous-cities-in-the-us

Philadelphia:

https://philly.curbed.com/2017/5/24/15681708/philadelphia-parks-statistics-cities-comparison

Texas: (Austin and Dallas)

http://kuow.org/post/many-austinites-city-parks-remain-out-reach

http://keranews.org/post/plano-again-tops-north-texas-cities-parkscore-index-others-slip

http://fitness.blog.mystatesman.com/2017/05/24/how-does-austins-park-system-compare-to-other-u-s-cities/

St. Louis:

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/columns/joe-holleman/st-louis-finishes-in-top-for-urban-park-space/article_807c5c09-1284-5d82-a453-fbae1261fd5a.html

Honolulu:

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/news/2017/05/24/honolulu-parks-in-the-top-third-of-annual-rating.html

Las Vegas:

http://www.ktnv.com/positivelylv/las-vegas-improves-on-park-ratings

Madison:

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/madison-parks-ranked-ninth-best-in-the-country/article_fae6f9e0-c642-5043-9f8f-4f7e3c93e371.html

Charlotte:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article152364862.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152568749.html

http://www.wbt.com/articles/low-rankings-charlottes-park-system

Greensboro:

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2017/05/25/why-triad-parks-dont-place-higher-on-national.html

Next City:

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/parkscore-2017-park-systems-ranked

More on golf courses and their conversion to parks…

rancho-canada-carmel

Rancho Canada, Carmel, California

Back in March, we put out a call for news and stories on golf courses and their conversion to parks.  We also did more research and received a few tips and here’s an update to what we’ve found thus far…

  • Golf courses continue to decline from a peak of 16,052 courses in the US in 2005 to 15,372 in 2015. (Data from “The World of Golf” published by R & A, the global governing body for Golf, in 2015.)
  • The number of golfers are also declining in US, from a peak of 29.42 M in 2009 to 25.1 M in 2016.
  • There are 413 publicly owned golf courses in the 100 largest US cities, which is 2.69 percent of the total number of 15,372 courses.

While we have not seen many examples of public golf courses being converted to parks, we do find 14 private golf courses being purchased and converted to public parks in the past 12 years. The Trust for Public Land has been an integral part of the latter effort, working on 8 of the 14 in the past 12 years.

8 of those were projects of the Trust for Public Land, including 3 courses that we helped purchase in 2016 alone, including Applewood in Golden, Colorado and Rancho Canada in Carmel, California. Many more have been considered (and are being considered) but have not been successful due to price, funding or similar issues. 2 of the 14 are in the 100 largest US cities.

We’re continuing to follow this story and if you have additional information, examples or suggestions, please contact us at ccpe@tpl.org.

applewood-golfcourse

Applewood golf course, Golden, Colorado

City park facts: spending for public parks, part 1

2017-CPE-Spending

Part of our annual City Park Facts report focuses on spending in public parks in the 100 largest US cities. This includes park agency spending on parks and recreation specifically at the city, county, state, and federal level, as applicable in a given city.

Total spending* reported in our 2017 report is $7.09 Billion, which is up slightly from $7.07 Billion in 2016. Based on the population of the 100 largest cities (currently 63.57 Million or about 20 percent of the population of the US) this works out to $76 per person in our 100 largest US cities.

*It is important to note that the spending total doesn’t include other maintenance and operation expenses that parks and recreation agencies might be responsible for, including cultural institutions, maintaining rights-of-way or street trees. Further, it is only public agencies, no non-profit conservancy or foundation totals are included.  We’ll cover the scope and role of non-profit parks foundations, conservancies and friends groups in a future post. A good source of additional information is our 2015 Report: “Public Parks, Private Money: The Triumphs and Pitfalls of Urban Park Conservancies.”

The bulk of spending in parks (just under 75 percent in this year’s report) in the 100 largest US cities is for operation and maintenance – often called O & M. O & M includes everything from lawn mowing, to bills for water, heating and air conditioning, keeping pool and fountain systems working and painting the lines on playing fields. It also includes all programmatic spending, from running recreation programs to hiring and managing life guards and running swimming classes.

The remaining 25 percent of the budget is capital spending, which covers the replacement of existing facilities, like a playground, playing field or recreation center or construction of a new facility. Generally, city parks departments have both capital and operating and maintenance budgets and they are approved by elected city officials separately and come from separate funding sources.

The challenge for many city, state and federal parks agencies is in the operation and maintenance categories. For many years the approach, when revenues are down or declining, is to defer or delay maintenance. Over time, if budgets are increased to previous levels, deferred maintenance can easily lead to capital replacement costs.

Primarily, O & M funding comes from general revenue sources in our cities.  This is primarily property and sales tax receipts. There are lots of competing interests for these general revenue dollars and the top of the list is usually public safety (fire, police and ems) and a close second is public schools. Depending on the state that a given city is located in, there may be fewer general revenue dollars coming into a given city with a higher need from the public safety agencies. Further, there may be additional demands on that local pool of funds given that fewer contributions have been coming to cities through state or federal programs, which have been generally shrinking, in the past 20 plus years.

There is also stiff competition for capital dollars. Capital expenditures in our largest US cities focus primarily on infrastructure: ranging from bridges and roads to fire stations and yes, parks. And infrastructure spending remains very low in the US.  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a report every four years on the state of infrastructure in the US and in 2017, they give Public Parks & Recreation a D+.

Depending on which state a city is located in there are a range of methods for raising capital money. The most common is through municipal bonds, in which the city borrows against its bond rating for money that it pays back at a low interest rate. Bonds can be authorized through a public vote of a city’s citizens or in some cases, through a vote of its city council. The Trust for Public Land has worked on hundreds of campaigns for bond elections, much of which is documented in our website, LandVote.

We’ll continue this topic in a future post focusing on public/private partnerships with non-profit foundations and conservancies.

You can download the 2017 City Park Facts report for free on the Trust for Public Land website.

The Center for City Park Excellence is part of The Trust for Public Land, which creates parks and protects land for people.

Questions, comments or ideas: Contact us at ccpe@tpl.org.

ASCE Infrastructure Report Card on Parks

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers puts together an National Insfrastructure Report Card assigning individual letter grades on a variety of insfrastructure categories and an overall letter grade on the USA infrastructure overall.

reportcard-graphic

Since 2005, Public Parks and Recreation have been one of the categories evaluated, earning a C- grade for 2005, 2009 and 2013. Sadly, in 2017, it’s gone to a D+, which mirrors the national overall grade. You can read the highlights of the report here and download a full copy here.

asce=parks-grade

A couple of key points here. First, the ASCE considers public parks and recreation as infrastructure, providing a wide variety of environmental and economic services, as we all know.  One example highlighted by the report is the work of the Trust for Public Land in Newark, NJ along the Passaic River, developing the Newark Riverfront Park.

Second, they focus primarily on federal and state reporting of parks – primarily drawing on work done by the National Park Service and supporting non-profit foundations, as well as State park systems. US city park systems aren’t included, but the Trust for Public Land through the Center for City Park Excellence will work to provide that information through our City Park Facts and ParkScore projects.

More importantly, they recommend a number of action items, including one that the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance are actively advocating for, including the reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to support acquisition of land and easements on land at the federal, state, and local levels.  

More of their recommendations are here. 

Questions, comments?  Contact the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land via email at ccpe@tpl.org