Las Vegas and the surrounding cities rank in the top half of park systems in the country, according to a nonprofit focused on parks.
Las Vegas places 24th while Henderson ties for 32nd and North Las Vegas ranks 47th in The Trust for Public Land’s 6th annual ParkScore index. Las Vegas is tied with six cities: Fremont, California, Lincoln, Long Beach, Oakland, San Jose, and Virginia Beach while Henderson is tied with Honolulu and Philadelphia.
Las Vegas’ rank improves ahead of its 31st place showing in 2016, while North Las Vegas decreases 12 places from its 35th rank and Henderson drops 7 places to 32nd.
Minneapolis narrowly edged cross-town rival Saint Paul to earn top honors for the second consecutive year. San Francisco climbed into third, pulling ahead of Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia, mostly because of improved access to basketball courts at schoolyards now open after hours and on weekends. Portland, Irvine, New York, Madison and Cincinnati rounded out the top 10.
Fresno shook up the bottom of the ParkScore rankings, vaulting from last year’s 97th to a tie for 90th place with Hialeah and Jacksonville, Florida. Fresno’s climb stemmed mostly from the creation of “joint use” agreements that open school playgrounds and athletic fields for public use after school hours and on weekends. Fresno had been the lowest ranking ParkScore city from 2012-2015.
ParkScores are based on three factors: Park Access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately 1/2 mile); Park Size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks; and Facilities and Investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, and recreation & senior centers.