COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Trust For Public Land recently came out with their park score rankings for 2018.
Columbus landed 62nd out of 100. Cincinnati ranked 7th and and Cleveland 37th.
The scoring system ranks cities based on things like acreage, investment and amenities.
Statistics from the study showed there are 1.7 playgrounds for every 10,000 residents in Columbus. 52% of residents are within a 10 minute walk of a park. It also shows 8.9% of the city area is park land.
The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department said not all of their services and amenities are taken into account in the scoring.
“We have eight public pools and aquatic centers here that’s not included in that score and we think that’s a wonderful way that residents can enjoy aquatics and enjoy our parks systems,” said community relations chief for Columbus Recreation and Parks Sophia Fifner.
She said the parks are also expanding.
“We just acquired 57 acres with Kilbourne Run Park,” said Fifner. “We have the Wilson Road Park, which opened up last year, so we’re hoping that we have as much park land as possible for our residents.”
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks said only a small portion of their parks are included in the score. Areas like Scioto Audubon, a small portion of Highbanks and almost all of Three Creeks were included. But, many areas were not included because a majority of their land is unincorporated (23,600 acres out of 27,000 acres).
Fifner said the Trust for Public Land score is just one of many benchmarks they use to evaluate their services.
“We use our master plan, which was created in 2014, which is a series of conversations and data points from residents who live here in Columbus that tells us what they want and they need from their park systems and their recreational services,” she said. “We use that as our guiding point to roadmap what we need to be great public servants.”
Columbus Recreation and Parks said the score also doesn’t account for capital investments, like the rebuilding of the Linden Recreation Center, among other things.
“One of the things that’s left out are some of our community partners,” she said. “Our playgrounds through our schools and some of the local non-profit organizations that also have playgrounds that makes recreation incredibly accessible to Columbus youth.”
Resident Chardonnay Beyers looks forward to spring and summer time in the parks with her two young boys. She believes the score should have been higher.
“We like to see different things that different parks offer and we like to have fun all summer at them,” she said.
Shannon Ghizzoni agrees, Columbus deserved a better score, but can see where the park system may have been lacking.
“We love Columbus Parks,” she said. “Maybe they don’t have as many things like people want to go to the park for… like tennis courts or basketball courts, but downtown they generally do and Goodale’s a great one.”
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