Parks in Cleveland Ranked High for Accessibility and Amenities

Cleveland had 6% of its land dedicated to parks and trails. the national average was 9.3%. (graphic TPL)
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Clevelanders have better than average access to parks and recreation but have a less than average amount of land dedicated to parks or trails.  The latest ParkScore ranking from the Trust for Public Lands lists Cleveland as number 45 out of the 100 largest cities. 


The TPL rankings are based on categories like how many residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park, how much the city spends on parks and recreation facilities.  Researcher Ali Hiple says Cleveland did well on that score.


“They are pretty well scoring in terms of the amenities, actually.  You got full marks for basketball hoops on a per capita basis. You also score pretty well in terms of playgrounds and recreation centers.” 


Cleveland ranked lower for the smaller size of its parks.  It uses only 6% of its land for parks while the national average was 9.3% .  Columbus had 11% in parks but did poorly in other categories and ranked 56th.   The highest rated in Ohio was Cincinnati, which dedicates 14% of its land to parks.  It ranked 10th in the nation. 


 “It provides some important ways of ensuring that parks and public spaces are publicly accessible in neighborhoods throughout the city”  says Matt Schmidt, Program Director for the TPL Cleveland office.  “And we’re really thinking of an equitable distribution of public spaces and the related amenities that go along with those.”


Schmidt added that the information could be useful to city officials.


“Being able to collect this data helps to provide the baseline understanding of how we’re doing as a city here in Cleveland in comparison to others.   And helps to make the case for whether what we‘re doing is in fact meeting the goals and needs of local residents.”   


Schmidt expects Cleveland’s ranking to improve as the towpath trail and Edgewater park improvements are finished.


Parks were counted whether they were owned by the city or county.  But parks outside the city limits were not included.   Cleveland had one acre of parkland for every 128 people.   The most visited park was Luke Easter.


Hiple says some cities have been increasing their scores by reaching joint agreements with schools that allow community use of school playgrounds. 

The top ranking city in the country was Minneapolis.  Last place was a tie between two Indiana cities, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

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