SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego has one of the 20 best park systems in the country, according to rankings released today by the Trust for Public Land.
San Diego's park system ranked 16th, unchanged from last year's rankings, while Chula Vista's park system vaulted two spots, to 76th. San Diego's ranking was based on above-average park acreage, access and investment, according to the Trust for Public Land.
The nonprofit organization's eighth annual ParkScore index ranks the country's 100 most populous cities on the percentage of residents who are within a 10-minute walk of a park, a city's median park size, park spending per resident and the availability of amenities such as basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds and restrooms.
"Mayors and city park directors across the United States recognize that quality, close-to-home parks are essential to communities,'' said Trust for Public Land President and CEO Diane Regas.
"Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health and get children and adults to put down their phones and enjoy the outdoors.'' San Diego was the second-highest-ranked city in California, trailing seventh-place San Francisco, one of only two cities with every resident living within 10 minutes of a park.
The Trust for Public Land ranked Washington, D.C., at the top this year, unseating Minneapolis, Minnesota, the top-ranked city for the previous three years.
Oklahoma City ranked last among the most populous cities, due in part to only 38% of residents living within 10 minutes of a park. The national average of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park is 54%, according to the Trust for Public Land.
Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana, declined to participate in this year's ParkScore index ranking, while Gilbert, Arizona lacked the necessary data, according to the organization.
As a result, only 97 cities received rankings. "As few as 8,300 new parks in places where they are needed most would close the gap in park access in our 100 largest cities,'' said Breece Robertson, the organization's chief research and innovation officer.
"But, because we now know exactly where to site the parks, we know the first 1,500 could solve the problem for nearly five million people. That shows us the way forward, and we owe it to our children to rise to the challenge.''