Minneapolis is back at the top of the Trust for Public Land‘s annual ParkScore Index, earning the #1 spot for the seventh year. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation was honored to help celebrate this accomplishment earlier today at Orvin “Ole” Olson Park with our partners at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
Joining Superintendent Al Bangoura and Park Board President Jono Cowgill and Vice President LaTrisha Vetaw, were Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Susan Schmidt, TPL’s Minnesota State Director, and our own Tom Evers. Together, they spoke at a press conference with the Mississippi River and the city’s skyline in the background.
In making the announcement during a pandemic, it was noted how COVID-19 has both highlighted the importance of parks and public space, and challenged communities to address persistent barriers to equitable access.
“We are honored by the top ranking and recognize how important parks are to all Minneapolis residents, particularly during this national health crisis,” said Al Bangoura, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, in a statement. “For years we have used equity tools and metrics in establishing our annual budget, capital improvement budget and recreation programming, and we will continue to do so during this pandemic.”
Minneapolis’s parks and trails have remained open since the start of Minnesota’s stay-at-home orders, though some amenities such as recreation centers, drinking fountains, and more recently, basketball courts were temporarily closed under guidance from health officials. In fact, 40 miles of parkways and city streets were opened to walkers and bikers to allow for more social distancing.
TPL first named Minneapolis the top park system in 2013, when the organization expanded the rankings to the 100 most populous cities in the US. Minneapolis subsequently took first place every year until 2018, before dipping to third in 2019. Last year’s top park system, Washington DC, moves to second in 2020, and St. Paul takes third. You can read the complete report and see all the rankings here.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is proud to partner with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on investing in our world-class parks for this generation and many more to come.
Featured image: Signs of the times – today’s press conference photo call included ample social distancing. (L to R) Tom Evers, Commissioners Jono Cowgill and Meg Forney, Superintendent Al Bangoura, Mayor Jacob Frey, Parks Foundation Board Chair Dorothy Bridges, and Susan Schmidt. Courtesy of MPRB