St. Paul, Minneapolis among top three ParkScore spots

The Twin Cities have earned top-ranking spots on the annual ParkScore index, according to a release from the Trust for Public Land.

St. Paul kept its second-place spot, while Minneapolis moved up to the number three rank, according to the index. Last year, the city was in fifth place but was in third place back in 2021.

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Agency officials said they recently released new research showing cities with high ParkScore rankings are healthier places to live. The Trust for Public Land noted that ParkScore ratings are calculated using five factors across park systems in the 100 most populous cities: access, equity, acreage, investment, and amenities.

Factors that played into the rankings include St. Paul’s decision to eliminate fees for youths using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which doubled participation in soccer and basketball leagues.

“We are once again humbled and grateful to be named among the top city park systems in the country,” said Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguez. “This annual ranking serves as both a cause to celebrate our achievements to date and a reminder of the investments that are still needed to achieve equitable access to parkland and amenities within our city.” 

Additionally, Minneapolis waived youth fees at 17 recreation centers, in addition to investing $2.6 million in youth programming and services.

“Minneapolis is honored once again to rank among the very best city park systems in the United States. We are especially proud of our equity-based investments in park improvements and programming, and that more than 98% of Minneapolis residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park,” said Al Bangoura, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “We are committed to increasing access to parks and are actively focusing on low-income neighborhoods and areas where residents identify as people of color.” 

The city with the top ParkScore ranking is Washington, D.C. Other cities in the top ten spots include Irvine, California; Arlington, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and both New York and Boston tied for tenth place.