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More on golf courses and their conversion to parks…

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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.

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Applewood golf course, Golden, Colorado

Trash to Treasure – Landfills to Green Space

We recently spoke with CBRE’s Blueprint website on the process of conerting landsfills to parks and we wanted to share the resulting article.

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City Parks in the News

Catherine Nagel, Executive Director of City Parks Alliance, writes about the need to fund park development and management, the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and thanks Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for her leadership in supporting urban parks in her latest opinion, For Most Americans, Their Closest Park is a City Park. The piece was published in City Parks Blog and Medium.


The Mayors for Parks coalition recently released a statement inviting Presidential candidates to answer questions about how they plan to support urban parks and recreation. The Clinton campaign responded with an outline of Secretary Clinton’s plan to increase federal investment in urban parks by creating a new American Parks Trust Fund, funding the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR), and providing an additional $10 million annually to AmeriCorps. The Trump campaign has not responded to the coalition’s request.


Next City published 5 Ways U.S. Cities Are Paying for Parks, a piece that highlights some of the innovative ways agencies and communities are paying for the development and management of urban parks. The piece quotes Catherine Nagel, saying “it’s heartening to see how the growing demand for parks is driving innovative approaches to funding.” This article is part of a series of sponsored posts by City Parks Alliance.

Urban National Parks: The 21st Century Face of the National Park System

The following is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting urban units of the National Park System.

By Beth Porter, National Park Service and Molly Anderson, Conservation Legacy Fellow

Urban national parks are often the unsung heroes of America’s national park system. As Americans continue their migration to cities in pursuit of economic opportunity, our national parks are rising to meet their needs. These ever-increasing urban populations are composed of longtime city residents, rural transplants, and newly arrived immigrant populations who cluster together in the urban core to cope with a country unfamiliar to them. Now, more than ever, America’s urban national parks are striving to serve these new, dense and diverse populations, while staying true to the National Park Service mission of preserving America’s special places for present and future generations.

The Urban Agenda is part of the National Park Service Centennial goal to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. Today’s urban national parks are engaging with their surrounding communities in new and innovative ways and actively identifying opportunities to contribute positively to their quality of life.

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Rosie the Riveter/WWII Homefront National Historical Site
Richmond, CA

The National Park Service is not only in the business of caring for America’s special places, it is in the business of telling our special stories. The combination of these two roles can make a powerful difference to a community that is still working to become its best self.  An example of this power can be seen with Rosie the Riveter WWII Homefront National Historical Site in Richmond, California. In World War II, Richmond, California was a factory town. The factories employed African-Americans and women, most of whom were entering the workforce for the first time. This role is what defined the city and drew people to settle there. After the war, the factories were no longer necessary and Richmond slid into a long term economic slump that spawned high unemployment, high crime, and a general lack of community pride for many years.  Continue reading

Is Your Park System Fair?

Probably not. Maybe in the historically ethnic sections of town too many parks have broken-down playgrounds or a few too many weeds. Maybe over the past couple of years, dollars have been flowing heavily to the same few parts of town. If so, your city wouldn’t be alone in this. Many places are trying to do better. In Minneapolis, this has meant a revamped approach to park projects.

Since there is never quite enough funding to go around, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s new 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan includes a rigorous system to prioritize capital investment and large rehabilitation projects for neighborhood parks. The system is uniquely point-based, and also stands out in its emphasis on racial and economic equity. Continue reading