By John Lynds
It’s parks like the Monument Square, Doherty Playground, Edwards Playground and all the other city parks that dot Charlestown that helped put Boston in the top ten of the nation’s best park systems according to the Trust for Public Land’s Fifth Annual ParkScore index.
According to the Trust for Public Land’s report, Boston’s parks scored 4.5 out 5 on the report and ranked ninth overall just behind Irvine, CA but ahead of Cincinnati and Madison, WI, which were both tied for 10th place nationwide.
While not mentioned in the report, Boston has a strong ‘Friends’ of parks program that calls on community volunteers in Charlestown to help the city’s efforts to keep parks pristine. This undoubtedly contributed to the Trust for Public Lands ranking of Boston’s park system because it is the countless hours of volunteer work by these groups that keep Boston parks some of the best in the nation.
According to the Trust for Public Land the score Boston parks received was based on three factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park; Park Size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Facilities and Investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation and senior centers.
The report found the Boston, at 29,175 acres of park land, the median park size is 1.7 acres in the city. Seventeen percent of the city is made up of park land.
While Boston scored high marks on spending, facilities, added dog parks and total city acreage, it scored a low mark on the median park size, scoring 3 points out of a possible 20 on the report.
“Everyone in America deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park, and ParkScore helps us measure which cities are meeting that mark,” said President of The Trust for Public Land Will Rogers.
The report ranked park systems in the 100 most populous U.S. cities and also provided a one-to-five park bench rating summary that provides a snapshot of local park quality. The report also found on average cities were increasing their spending on parks by an average of $1 per person in 2016.
In Boston, the report found that the city spending an average of $121.55 per resident on open space.
“Cities are investing in park systems and that’s showing up on the ParkScore index. It is great news for public health, the environment, and local economies,” said Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land Adrian Benepe. “Parks provide places for children and adults to get exercise, and they serve as local meeting places where friendships are built and a sense of community is strengthened,” he added.