Philly has the nation’s 19th best park system, study finds

Children play at Disylvestro Playground in South Philadelphia. (Ariella Cohen/WHYY)

Children play at Disylvestro Playground in South Philadelphia. (Ariella Cohen/WHYY)

This article originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

It’s a good week to be a Philadelphia park.

One day after Mayor Jim Kenney rode to a second term propelled in part by his promise to improve the city’s public spaces, a new survey ranked Philly’s parks among the best in the nation.

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Philly rose 11 spots to place 19 in a survey of the park systems belonging to the nation’s 100 largest cities. The report, released Wednesday by the San Francisco-based nonprofit the Trust for Public Land, gave Philly a “ParkScore” of 66.7 points out of 100.

Washington, DC, which took the top spot, received a 83.8 ParkScore. The rankings were based on park access, acreage, amenities, and investment. Philly’s climb up the chart traces back to Kenney’s signature public works program, Rebuild, Owen Franklin, Pennsylvania state director for the Trust for Public Land said.

Rebuild, which got off to a slow start, is expected to ultimately pour hundreds of millions of dollars in city revenue generated by the mayor’s tax on sugary beverages into playground, rec center and library improvements.

“The ability for a city to make this transformation is rare,” Franklin said. “It’s showing the rest of the country the importance of prioritizing public space investments.”

Philadelphia received 95 points out of 100 for park access, a ranking that measures how many people live within 10-minutes walking distance from a park. The score doesn’t take into account the quality of the park, something Rebuild is now addressing with its mandate to improve existing facilities.

Franklin said Philly could continue to climb the TPL scorecard as Rebuild completes renovations.

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