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Plano's Parks Are Tops In Texas, ParkScore Index Says

Plano Parks Foundation
Plano ranked 17th on the annual ParkScore rankings. This is the first year Plano has been on the list, and it scored the highest out of Texas cities.

The non-profit Trust for Public Land has released its annual ParkScore ratings, which ranks public park systems in the 75 largest U.S. cities. Plano scored the highest out of Texas cities, coming in at No. 17.

A city’s ParkScore is determined based on park size, access for residents and how much money a city invests in park amenities.

Here’s how North Texas cities stacked up:

17. Plano

Abby Martin, a researcher with the Trust for Public Land, says Plano received its score because the city spends about $125 per resident on parks, and 74 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park.

However, she says the city could do a better job on spending for recreation centers and park amenities like basketball hoops and dog parks.  

Plano earned 64 points out of 100.

47. Arlington

"Arlington has larger parks but has less of them,” Martin says. About 55 percent of residents live within a half-mile radius of a park. Arlington spends about $85 per resident on parks, but investment in park amenities is weaker.

Arlington earned 47.5 points out of 100.

47. Dallas

Dallas tied with Arlington for 47th place. Dallas spends less money on parks but has more of them than Arlington.

The ParkScore only looked at publicly funded parks, so the popular Klyde Warren Park was not included in Dallas’ score.

“The city is not keeping up with peers in Texas and across the country on the annual spending per resident,” Martin says.

Only 58 percent of residents live within a half-mile of a park.

Dallas earned 47.5 points out of 100.

60. Fort Worth

Overall, Fort Worth devotes less land to parks and spends less on amenities. Though Fort Worth is known for having a walkable downtown, Martin says there are barriers to park access in neighborhoods, with 54 percent of residents living within a half-mile walk to the nearest park.

Fort Worth earned 42.5 points out of 100.

The Trust for Public Land shares ParkScore data with local parks departments.

Elsewhere in Texas

Austin is ranked No. 31. Corpus Christi is No. 44. El Paso is No. 55. Houston is No. 58. San Antonio is No. 60.

The best parks?

The Trust for Public Land says Minneapolis and Saint Paul are tied for having the best parks in the country. Washington, D.C., is No. 3. San Francisco is No. 4 and New York City is No. 5.  

Explore North Texas ParkScores

What Is Dallas' ParkScore?

What Is Fort Worth's ParkScore?

What Is Plano's ParkScore?

What Is Arlington's ParkScore?

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.