As parks and other open spaces across the country gradually lift restrictions, The Trust for Public Land announced that Cincinnati's park system ranks fifth in the nation in the Annual ParkScore Index Report, climbing three spots above its ranking in 2019.
Minneapolis had the No. 1 ranking park system in the nation. Oklahoma City was ranked the worst.
ParkScore rankings are based on four factors:
- Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minutes walk of a park;
- Park acreage, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of city area dedicated to parks;
- Park investment, which measures park spending per resident;
- And park amenities, which counts the availability of six popular park features including basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, “splash pads” and other water play structures, recreation and senior centers and restrooms.
Cincinnati claims the highest score in the United States for park amenities and also received strong marks for park access and park investment.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio’s public parks have remained open for physical activity and exercise. In fact, the Trust for Public Land reported overall progress for parks this year, but it still fears the pandemic may have pushed city park systems to a critical tipping point as inequities in equitable park access and COVID-related budget cuts risk irreversible future damage.
“When stay-at-home orders permitted, people increasingly turned to parks, trails and public open spaces to connect with nature, exercise and enhance their mental and physical health," Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, said in a press release. "Residents deeply value parks, but continued inequity and the risk of future budget cuts threaten severe damage to the park systems that make many cities so livable."
Fortunately, certain restrictions are slowly being lifted. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a press conference on May 14 that beginning on May 21, campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Pavilions, playgrounds and other gathering spaces will remain closed, however.
Cincinnati Parks has an updating list of ways COVID-19 is affecting its parks at cincinnatiparks.com, including what is reopening. For example, this week the tennis and pickleball courts at Sawyer Point reopened as did the Smale Riverfront swings overlooking the Ohio River.
And, as always, Cincinnati Parks wants visitors to be mindful of COVID-19 safety recommendations while out in nature. This post has been pinned to their Facebook page since March.
We know you love visiting #CincyParks & we encourage you to get out outside & into nature, especially during this...Posted by Cincinnati Parks on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
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