Irvine ranked among the top 10 big cities in the country when it comes to availability and access to parks, while Los Angeles tumbled to 74th in the nation, according to a study released Wednesday by The Trust for Public Land.
According to the organization’s annual ParkScore index, Irvine tied New York for seventh place. Long Beach ranked 24th on the list, while Anaheim tied for 63rd and Santa Ana ranked 75th.
The rankings are based on three factors:
— park access, or the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park;
— park size; and
— facilities and investment, rating cities’ spending per resident on parks and the availability of four amenties: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds and recreation/senior centers.
According to The Trust, Irvine spends $252 per resident on parks, and 76 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. The city, however, had a relatively low score for dog parks.
Los Angeles placed 74th, down from 65th place last year. According to the study, the city received high marks for having 13 percent of its area reserved for parks and for its high number of recreation/senior centers. But the study found that only 54 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, hurting its overall score.
“Everyone in America deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park,” said Charlie McCabe, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for Parks Excellence. “Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values and bring neighbors together to nurture the personal bonds that make our communities special.”
The top five cities in the rankings were Minneapolis; St. Paul; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Oregon.
“You can’t have a great city without a great park system,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for the trust.
“Our top-ranked park systems are terrific, but all cities have room to improve,” Benepe said. “ParkScore is a tool that city leaders can use to guide park improvement, helping planners identify where they should focus their efforts, so more residents can live within a 10-minute walk of a well-planned and well-maintained park.”
The bottom five cities were Mesa, Arizona; Louisville; Charlotte; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Indianapolis.
—City News Service
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