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Arlington retains its top-5 position on national park ranking

Trust for Public Land annually produces scorecard for 100 urban areas

Arlington has retained its fifth-place position in the 2024 ParkScore index, released May 22 by the Trust for Public Land.

Only the District of Columbia (which topped the list), Minneapolis, St. Paul and Irvine (Calif.) outperformed the county in the ranking, which uses a multitude of factors to determine final results.

Arlington received high marks for access to parks and for total park spending. It was the fourth consecutive year that the county finished in the top five among the 100 largest urban areas that are part of the ranking.

Rounding out the top 10 were Seattle; San Francisco; Cincinnati; Portland (Ore.); and Chicago.

“Park leaders are stepping up to promote community connection and address the national epidemic of loneliness and social isolation,” said Diane Regas, president and CEO of Trust for Public Land. “We’re impressed by what we’ve seen this year, and we will continue working with cities throughout the U.S. to support park access for all.”

Major ParkScore movers this year include Gilbert, Ariz. (up 33 spots to 67th); Arlington, Texas (+27 to 47th); Richmond (+17 to 22nd); and Nashville (+15 to 78th).

Boise defended its title as the best park system for dogs, with a nation-leading 7.6 dog parks per 100,000 residents, outscoring Portland, Ore., and Henderson, Nev.

St. Paul received top marks for basketball hoops; Las Vegas scored best for playgrounds; and Boston earned top marks for splashpads and other water features.

Accompanying the annual ratings list, Trust for Public Land published new research reporting that residents of cities with high ParkScore rankings are, on average, more socially connected and engaged with their neighbors than are residents of cities with lower-ranking park systems.

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