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Friday, December 9, 2022
ArlingtonArlington parks tick up a spot in new national ranking

Arlington parks tick up a spot in new national ranking

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As the one-time leader of the pack fades, Arlington’s park system has taken another step up in a national ranking of facilities and accessibility.

Arlington moved up from fourth nationally in 2020 to third for 2021 in the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore index, released May 4.

The county trails just the District of Columbia and St. Paul (Minn.). Rounding out the top five are Cincinnati and Minneapolis.

(Minneapolis had led the ranking as recently as 2019, but dropped two positions in 2020 and two more in 2021.)

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Filling out the top 10 for the past year: Chicago; San Francisco; Irvine (Calif.); Seattle; and New York City.

Arlington officials took a public-relations victory lap in response to the bump from fourth to third.

“Our parks and recreation opportunities are a key contributor to quality of life in Arlington,” County Board Chairman Katie Cristol said in a statement. “From livability, bikeability, fitness, health and more, our community benefits.”

“Our community’s commitment to its parks makes a difference,” added Department of Parks and Recreation director Jane Rudolph. “They have supported us by voting for park bonds. They steward our parks as volunteers. They provide great input as we develop new programs and facilities.”

The annual rankings are based on an average of five categories: access, investment, amenities, acreage and equity.

Arlington scores near the top in the community’s investment (both dollars and volunteerism) and access, and did well in amenities. The equity score was decent but not spectacular, while Arlington was marked down for its limited park acreage – although that could hardly be described as a sin in a community of just 26 square miles.

(See the full analysis of Arlington’s performance at https://www.tpl.org/city/arlington-virginia.)

County leaders said Arlington’s “park amenities” score indicates the relative abundance of six park activities popular among a diverse selection of user groups (youth, teenagers, adults and seniors). Overall for this category, Arlington scored among the highest in the nation for its availability of basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds, recreation and senior centers, permanent restrooms and spraygrounds.

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