The District, which took the top spot last year, was bested by Minneapolis largely because that city acquired new parkland, the survey said.
The nation’s capital earned a “ParkScore” of 83.3 out of 100. The survey noted that 98 percent of the city’s residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park and that 24 percent of the city is parkland.
Arlington scored an 81.5, earning top marks for its large number of basketball hoops — 7.9 per 10,000 residents — and dog parks, 3.5 per 100,000 residents. (Arlington is a county but is treated as a city for the purposes of the report.)
“The county’s ongoing commitment coupled with the involvement and support of our residents make Arlington’s park and recreation system what it is today — a valued resource for our diverse community,” Jane Rudolph, director of Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said in a statement.
D.C. officials did not respond to a request for comment.
As Americans flood parks across the country for recreation, the Trust for Public Land asked policymakers to preserve money to maintain them despite budget shortfalls.
“With the twin crises of a pandemic and an economy in free fall, our parks and public land now face extraordinary pressures,” the group’s report said. “Given the sharp drop in all forms of tax revenue, cities have already begun targeting park systems for budget cuts. This is shortsighted.”
The District spends $306.99 per resident on parks each year, the survey found, while Arlington spends $300.63.
Charlie McCabe, city parks researcher for the Trust for Public Land, praised the District and Arlington for their management of public space during the pandemic. However, he said cities in fiscal crisis will have to work harder than ever to maintain their parks.
“We know it’s going to be challenging,” he said. “It’s equal to or worse than the Great Recession, which is really hard to think about.”
The survey included only 97 cities this year because Fort Wayne, Ind., and Indianapolis did not participate, while some data from Gilbert, Ariz., was not available, the organization said.
Cities with best park systems:
1. Minneapolis 85.3
2. The District 83.3
3. St. Paul, Minn. 82.5
4. Arlington 81.5
5. Cincinnati 80.6
6. Portland, Ore. 79.8
7. Irvine, Calif. 79.6
8. San Francisco 78.9
9. Boston 76.5
10. Chicago 76.0
Lowest-ranking park systems:
90. Hialeah, Fla. 33.1
91. Baton Rouge 32.0
92. Fresno, Calif. 31.8
93. Lubbock, Tex. 31.6
94. Fort Worth 31.2
95. Charlotte 29.8
96. Mesa, Ariz. 29.0
97. Oklahoma City 23.8
Source: Trust for Public Land