San Diego’s parks ranked among best in nation

SAN DIEGO — San Diego is 14th and Chula Vista 75th in rankings released Wednesday of park systems in the 100 most populous cities.

The Trust for Public Land’s sixth annual ParkScore Index gave San Diego mostly middling ratings for spending on parks, available facilities and access by residents. However, San Diego received a perfect 20 points out of a possible 20 for parkland as a percentage of a city area, and a low score of six out of 20 for playgrounds per 10,000 residents.

Chula Vista received just four out of a possible 20 points for spending, seven out of 20 for parkland as a percentage of a city area, and nine out of 20 for facilities. The South Bay city’s best score was 14 of 20 for median park size.

The city’s takeover of the former Olympic Training Center in January could impact its ranking next year.

The trust’s facilities score included items like basketball hoops and playgrounds per 10,000 residents, recreation and senior centers for 20,000 residents, and dog parks per 100,000 residents. The index ranks access as a percentage of residents who live within a half-mile of a park.

“Everyone in America deserves to live within a 10-minute walk of a park,” said Charlie McCabe, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Parks Excellence. “Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values, and bring neighbors together to nurture the personal bonds that make our communities special.”

The top five cities in the rankings were Minneapolis, St. Paul; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Oregon.

“You can’t have a great city without a great park system,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for the trust.

“Our top-ranked park systems are terrific, but all cities have room to improve,” Benepe said. “ParkScore is a tool that city leaders can use to guide park improvement, helping planners identify where they should focus their efforts, so more residents can live within a 10-minute walk of a well-planned and well-maintained park.”

The bottom five cities were Mesa, Arizona; Louisville; Charlotte; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Indianapolis.