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Atlanta parks system ranked 50th among 100 big cities

Atlanta may be considered a city in a forest because of its tree canopy, but its parks rate a “meh”at best.

The city’s park system ranked 50th out of the nation’s 100 largest cities in a survey by the Trust for Public Land. Atlanta tied with Dallas for the spot, inching up one space from last year when Georgia’s most populous city ranked 51st. (Minneapolis had the top spot).

The problem for Atlanta: park size. The median park size in the city is 3.1 acres, compared to the national average of about 5 acres. Atlanta also sets aside about 6 percent of its land for parks while the national average is about 9 percent.

“Our top-ranked park systems are terrific, but all cities have room to improve,”  Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for the Trust. “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.”

Mayor Kasim Reed attends a ceremony last September at the former Bellwood Quary. The area will become a park and reservoir for Atlanta. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

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Atlanta is attempting to improve its park status. The city last week broke ground on Cook Park near Vine City and English Avenue and hopes to create Atlanta’s largest park as well as a reservoir from the former Bellwood Quarry off Lois Road in northwest Atlanta.

The Trust, which builds and protects parks across the nation, rates greenspace on size, the percentage of residents within a 10-minute walk to a park, and a city’s investment in amenities such as basketball hoops, playground and dog parks for every 10,000 residents.

 

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