When it comes to public park systems, Arlington’s ranks near the top among the nation’s 100 largest cities. That’s according to the Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore® index, which once again ranked the County fourth on its list. This ranking comes on the heels of Arlington being named the fittest city in the U.S., in part due to the quality of its park amenities.
“Parks build community. Our mission is to promote wellness and vitality through dynamic programs and attractive public spaces. And it looks like we are right on track,” said Jane Rudolph, Director of Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our public spaces, which include parks, playgrounds, trails, fields and nature and community centers, bestow a unique and irreplaceable benefit to everyone in Arlington. Our public spaces make us happier and healthier.”
The Trust for Public Land ranks the 100 largest U.S. cities for park access and quality. Analysis is based on four important characteristics of an effective park system: acreage, investment, amenities and access. Scores for each category are presented out of 100 points, and cities can earn a maximum ParkScore® of 100.
Arlington’s 2019 ParkScore®
This year, Arlington earned an overall ParkScore® of 81.3. The score was based equally on four factors:
- Park Access – 98 percent of Arlington residents can walk to a park in 10 minutes or less
- Park Acreage – 11 percent of Arlington is reserved for parks
- Park Investment – Arlington spends $267.23 per resident on parks
- Park Amenities – Arlington offers each of six popular park features: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, spraygrounds and other water play structures, recreation and senior centers, and restrooms
Recent “Fittest City in America” Designation
Arlington parks help people be fit. Parks are quick and easy to get to and there are 8.3 acres of parks per 10,000 residents. Our abundance of farmers markets and playgrounds, and the resources set aside for parks, also make fitness happen. That’s why the American College of Sports Medicine’s Fitness Index® ranked Arlington the 2019 Fittest City in the U.S.
Sound Planning for Arlington’s Places and Spaces
After more than four years of collaborative public engagement, the Arlington County Board approved an updated Public Spaces Master Plan on April 25, 2019. The plan for our public spaces envisions a network of publicly and privately-owned public spaces connecting the County’s established neighborhoods and growing corridors to natural areas. The plan provides a framework for protecting valuable natural resources, providing opportunities for structured and casual activities and ensuring access to the Potomac River, Four Mile Run and their tributaries.