Cincinnati Parks' System Ranks as One of the Best in the Country, According to Study

About 88% of Cincinnati residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park, says the study.

May 24, 2023 at 4:32 pm
click to enlarge Smale Riverfront Park - Photo: Scott Dittgen
Photo: Scott Dittgen
Smale Riverfront Park

Cincinnati Parks are getting national praise and recognition after Trust for Public Land released its annual rankings, with the Queen City’s parks system placing sixth out of the largest 100 U.S. cities.

Trust for Public Land is a nonprofit with the mission to “create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.” Each year, it puts out its ParkScore, an in-depth look at U.S. city parks that measures their equity, access, acreage, amenities and investment.

“We are proud of our parks, and I don’t think anyone who has visited them is surprised to learn we are a top 10 city. I am especially grateful for the amazing Parks and Recreation staff, and the thousands of volunteers, including the Board of Park Commissioners and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, who work to keep our parks looking great and working so well. Of course, there is always room for improvement, and together we will continue to support making our green spaces even better,” Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said in a press release.

The review looked at parks and greenspaces managed by the park board, Cincinnati Recreation Commission, Cincinnati Public Schools and the Hillside Trust, a service that assists governments in policymaking when it comes to hillside preservation and land conservation.

Noteworthy in the study: Cincinnati scored high when it came to equity in access to parks by race and income. The study found 88% of residents live within walking distance (about half a mile or a 10-minute walk) to a park.

“In Cincinnati, we love our parks. Every day out in the field, we see firsthand the special place they hold for everyone who uses them,” Jason Barron, director of Cincinnati Parks, said in the release. “Being named in the top 10 year after year is only possible because of a citywide commitment and love for our parks. We as a city, all play a part in keeping our parks and greenspaces wonderful spaces. It is part of our DNA in Cincinnati to demand and invest in awesome Parks.”

Cincinnati Parks encompasses more than 5,000 acres of city parks, including five regional parks, 70 neighborhood parks, 34 natural areas, six neighborhood nature centers and 65 miles of hiking and bridle trails.

Regional neighbors Columbus and Lexington ranked 56 and 65 on the ParkScore, respectively. Louisville’s park system ranked near the bottom at 92nd.

You can find the full rankings here.

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