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Pittsburgh parks named to Top 25 in U.S.; amenities, accessibility among the best

Tawnya Panizzi
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Massery Photography
Frick Environmental Center, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh parks are among the top 25 in the country, according to a study released today by The Trust for Public Land.

Using mapping technology and demographics, the group analyzed parks in 100 U.S.

Pittsburgh’s park system catapulted into 23rd place, up from 39th in 2017, said Jayne Miller, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. “This is a true testament to the hard work, dedication and passion of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the City of Pittsburgh,” Miller said.

Founded in 1996, the parks conservancy works to restore Pittsburgh’s historic city parks.

Working with the city, the group has raised more than $108 million to complete 17 major improvement projects and the partnership will continue on a path to offer accessible parks to all residents, Miller said.

Mayor Bill Peduto identified park access as a key goal for the city by 2030, issuing a challenge that guarantees every child in the city live within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground by then.

“Parks are proven to improve physical and mental health, increase property values and bring neighbors together to nurture the personal bonds that make our communities special,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a release.

Miller previously served as head of the Minneapolis Park System which claimed the top spot in the rankings — for the sixth time. Rounding out the Top 10 parks in the U.S. are those including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Cincinnati and Chicago.

Amenities here, in the city’s 3,683 park acres, include off-leash dog areas, basketball hoops, restrooms and playgrounds.

Pittsburgh parks have a constant flow of classes and programs that include exercise, dance, arts and stewardship.

From movies in Oakland’s Schenley Park to walking trails in Highland Park, to the much-lauded LEED-certified Frick Environmental Center , city parks earned high marks for four ranking factors that include park access, acreage, investment and amenities. Pittsburgh ranked especially high in park amenities with a score of 35 out of 40, according to the study.

It also fared well on accessibility, with 84 percent of residents living within 10-minute walk of a park.

In total, the city earned 63.8 of 100 total possible points, up from last year’s score of 57.5.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, [email protected] or @tawnyatrib.

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