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Plano's ParkScore Slips, But Still Has The Top Parks In Texas

City of Plano
Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano.

Plano's again the highest-ranking Texas city in the Trust For Public Land's annual ParkScore index, which measures park access and quality in 100 U.S. cities.

This year, Plano dropped from No. 17 to 18, but that doesn't mean the city is doing something wrong. The city's above the national average when it comes to median park size and residents living within a 10-minute walk to a park.

"We have 100 cities that are in the ranking," Robert Kent, the North Texas director of the Trust For Public Land, said. "Every year, some cities are doing things a little bit differently so moving from one spot to another isn't that uncommon."

How ParkScores are calculated

Factors considered in ParkScore ratings include park access, park acreage, amenities and city spending per resident on parks. The Trust for Public Land this year also added splash pads, restrooms, volunteer hours, and charitable contributions to park projects in its rankings.

The results

18. Plano

Last year's ranking: 17

Seventy-five percent of Plano residents live within a 10-minute walk to a park. The median city park size is also twice the national average. As in previous years, Plano's score was hurt by low scores for park amenities like basketball hoops, dog parks and senior centers.

49. Dallas

Last year's ranking: 50

"This is the third year in a row Dallas has improved its Parkscore," said Kent. Dallas may also see improved rankings in the future if it passes a proposed ordinance requiring developers to either set aside land for parks or contribute money in a fund for future parks.

63. Arlington

Last year's ranking: 59

Only 53 percent of Arlington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. The city received low scores for park amenities.

72. Garland

Last year's ranking: 63

"[Our] new calculation method may have impacted Garland's score," said Kent. According to the Trust, the city offers no dog parks or splashpads.

82. Fort Worth

Last year's ranking: 79

According to the Trust, Fort Worth received one of the nation’s lowest scores for park amenities. The city provides only 1.3 basketball hoops per 10,000 residents, lower than the national ParkScore city median of 2.6.

82. Irving

Last year's ranking: 85

Irving reported 3.1 playgrounds per 10,000 residents, which is above the Parkscore average of 2.4. However, only 58 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

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.