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St. Paul tops Minneapolis, named as second best parks system in the country

Washington D.C. was named the country's best park system in the Trust for Public Land ranking.

St. Paul and Minneapolis have two of the best park systems in the country, according to rankings from nonprofit Trust for Public Land.

The annual ParkScore ranking was announced Thursday. Washington D.C. claimed the number one ranking – knocking last year's No. 1, Minneapolis, down into third, while St. Paul climbed a place into second.

The rankings take into account park access, including for residents of color and low-income residents, park amenities and investments made into the city’s park system.

Washington D.C. last earned the number one ranking in 2019.

According to the ranking, 99% of St. Paul residents and 98% of Minneapolis residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk. The national average was 75%.

The ranking also took into account how that number differs for certain groups for the first time this year.

In St. Paul, residents in neighborhoods predominantly made up of people of color have 30% less park space than predominantly white neighborhoods. Low-income neighborhoods have 35% less park access than high-income neighborhoods.

And in Minneapolis, that disparity is even greater. Residents in neighborhoods predominantly made up of people of color have 58% less park space, while low-income neighborhoods have 65% less park space.

“Safe and accessible outdoor space is vital to creating livable and sustainable neighborhoods,” said Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm in a statement.

"I am proud of the progress we have made around equity and access in Saint Paul, but it is critical we continue to strategically invest in areas that have been historically underserved or are experiencing rapid population growth to further meet the needs of all children and families who call our city home.” 

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