Columbus Needs 10,000 Acres of Public Parks to Catch Up

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus Needs 10,000 Acres of Public Parks to Catch UpDorrian Green Park — Photo by Walker Evans.
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The Trust for Public Land released their annual ParkScore rankings several days ago, and Columbus landed in 49th place on the list. The ranking system weighs four main factors: park access, total acreage, investment in parks, and park amenities.

The investment category is where Columbus scored best. The city received a 73 out of 100 on “park spending per resident,” which perhaps is why our ParkScore has climbed a bit in recent years (56th place in 2017, 62nd in 2018, and 52nd in 2019). While 49th place is nothing to brag about, it’s still an improvement overall.

Currently, only 68% of Columbus residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park. Programs like the Rapid 5 Project hope to change that in the coming years.

“There’s an opportunity to create five major greenways through Franklin County, to put park greenways and waterways within a mile and a half of every resident of Franklin County,” stated Keith Meyers, Chair of ULI Columbus, in a video published about that project.

Roughly 8% of land in Columbus is currently composed of public parks, compared to 15% as the national median. If Columbus were to dedicate another 7% of land to parks (nearly 10,000 acres), it would require creating over 320 30-acre city parks (for reference, Goodale Park is 32 acres and Schiller Park is 23) dispersed throughout the city in areas where few greenspaces exist.

According to ParkScore, Columbus currently has 529 parks. We score decently for park amenities when it comes to recreation centers (74th percentile) and basketball hoops (57th percentile), but poorly for splash pads (14th percentile), dog parks (6th percentile) and playgrounds (3rd percentile).

For more information, visit www.tpl.org/city/columbus-ohio.

READ MORE: The Top 10 Parks in Columbus

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