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Fresno has improved its park services. But is it good enough?

Woodward Park might be a popular attraction in Fresno. But overall, Fresno lacks enough parks and amenities compared to many other cities in the nation, according to the Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore@ index.
Woodward Park might be a popular attraction in Fresno. But overall, Fresno lacks enough parks and amenities compared to many other cities in the nation, according to the Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore@ index. sflores@fresnobee.com

Fresno might be far from having one of the best park systems in the country. But it no longer has the worst.

The city is improving on its park services, according to The Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore@ index, which was released Tuesday by the nonprofit organization.

No. 90 Fresno’s national ranking based on quality of park services and amenities, according to The Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore@ index

Fresno climbed from No. 97 last year to be tied at No. 90 on the rankings, stemming mostly from the creation of “joint use” agreements that open school playgrounds and athletic fields for public use after school hours and on weekends.

Fresno had been the lowest ranking ParkScore city from 2012-2015.

“Joint use of school facilities is a major national trend, and a very positive development,”said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. “Keeping playgrounds and athletic fields open to the public when schools are closed helps cities significantly increase park access at relatively low cost.

“The Trust for Public Land enthusiastically supports joint use, but it does not replace the need for new park acquisition and open space preservation.”

Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values, and bring neighbors together.

Charlie McCabe, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Parks Excellence

The rankings are based on three factors: Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park; park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and facilities and investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation and senior centers.

In addition to ranking park systems in the 100 most populous U.S. cities, ParkScore also provides a one-to-five park bench rating summary that provides a snapshot of local park quality.

In 2017, three cities received the highest possible 5-bench rating: Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minn., and San Francisco.

“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 City 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.”

Bryant-Jon Anteola: (559) 441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

Ranking parks

ACCORDING TO THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND’S 6TH ANNUAL PARKSCORE@ INDEX

  • 1. Minneapolis
  • 2. Saint Paul, Minn.
  • 3. San Francisco
  • 4. Washington, D.C.
  • 5. Portland, Ore.
  • 90. Fresno
  • 90. Hialeah, Fla.
  • 90. Jacksonville, Fla.
  • 93. Laredo, Texas
  • 93. Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • 95. Mesa, Ariz.
  • 96. Louisville, Ky.
  • 97. Charlotte N.C.
  • 98. Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • 98. Indianapolis
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