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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Atlanta's parks rank 31st among large American cities

A new index shows that Atlanta's parks are quickly improving compared to other U.S. greenspaces. But they still have quite a ways to go.

The Trust for Public Land, which released its 2013 "ParkScore" ratings today, shows that Atlanta was one of four American cities to improve its standing since the nonprofit last analyzed greenspaces in municipalities across the country. Georgia's capital currently ranks 31st among large American cities. Minneapolis, New York, Boston, Sacramento, and San Francisco topped the list. Fresno, Calif. - another city that improved its rating - managed to still be ranked last.

Much of Atlanta's improvement can be attributed to the opening of Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to include of Proctor Creek in its Federal Urban Waters Partnership program.

George Dusenbury, commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, said that Atlanta's improved parks show the commitment of city officials, nonprofit groups, and businesses towards maintaining "world-class parks."

"With Mayor Reed's support, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs has worked tirelessly around the city to maintain and grow our parks in Atlanta, and we will continue to work collaboratively to invest in building sustainable, transformational green spaces for Atlanta's residents and visitors," Dusenbury said in a statement.

"ParkScore" ratings are based on several factors including the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk from a park, the size of the city's greenspace, services offered, and overall spending on parks. Check out which cities ranked atop the list after the jump:

TPL's 10 highest-ranking city park systems in the United States:

1. Minneapolis 5.0 park benches
2. New York 4.5 park benches
3. Boston (tie) 4.0 park benches
3. Sacramento (tie) 4.0 park benches
3. San Francisco (tie) 4.0 park benches
6. Washington, DC 4.0 park benches
7. Portland 4.0 park benches
8. Virginia Beach 4.0 park benches
9. San Diego 4.0 park benches
10. Seattle 4.0 park benches

The 13 lowest-ranking city park systems on TPL's list:

38. Houston (tie) 2.0 park benches
38. Miami (tie) 2.0 park benches
38. Nashville (tie) 2.0 park benches
38. Tucson (tie) 2.0 park benches
42. Memphis 1.5 park benches
43. Oklahoma City 1.5 park benches
44. Jacksonville (tie) 1.5 park benches
44. San Antonio (tie) 1.5 park benches
46. Mesa, AZ 1.5 park benches
47. Indianapolis (tie) 1.0 park benches
47. Charlotte (tie) 1.0 park benches
49. Louisville 1.0 park benches
50. Fresno 1.0 park benches

NOTE: This article has been changed to correct one error. "ParkScore" ratings are based on the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk from a park, not a 10-mile walk.

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