Cleveland dipped a few spots in ParkScore's 2023 national ranking of the 100 most populous cities in the country, from 23rd to 26th, but that was mostly because of gains made in other cities and not anything particularly wrong happening locally, according to the Trust for Public Land.
Founded in the 1970s in San Francisco, the nonprofit advocates for parks and compiles the annual rankings.
"Cleveland’s ParkScore rank was lifted by strong marks for park access and park amenities. Eighty-three percent of Cleveland residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, above the national ParkScore city average of 76 percent," the nonprofit said in a release.
With a median park size of 3.9, below the national median of 5.4 for those 100 cities, Cleveland has some room to make up.
The addition, down the line, of Irishtown Bend will help, as will assorted other plans in various stages of approval and completion from the Metroparks.
The bottom line, according to the Trust for Public Land, is that parks improve residents' lives, creating a more mentally and physically healthy city.
"Residents of cities ranked 1-25 on the ParkScore index are nine percent less likely to report poor mental health than are residents of lower ranking cities. Residents of these higher-ranking cities are also 21 percent less likely to be physically inactive," it said. "The new research, The Power of Parks to Promote Health, also reported an increasing focus on community health solutions at park departments nationwide, with surging interest in mental health and wellness."
In that department, Cleveland received applause for its work to promote health at its parks, including partnerships between MetroHealth and the Metroparks.
The top 10 cities in this year's rankings alongside their scores:
1. Washington, DC 84.9
2. St. Paul, MN, 80.8
3. Minneapolis, MN 80.4
4. Irvine, CA 80.0
5. Arlington, VA 78.9
6. Cincinnati, OH 76.9
7. San Francisco, CA 76.4
8. Seattle, WA 74.7
9. Portland, OR 73.7
T10. New York, NY 72.7
T10. Boston, MA 72.7
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