Minneapolis still has best parks in America, study says

Loring Park, one of 197 park properties in Minneapolis.

Loring Park, one of 197 park properties in Minneapolis.

For the second year running, the city of Minneapolis has been honored for having the best parks in the country, according to the Trust for Public Land's 2014 "ParkScore" rankings.

Like last year, the City of Lakes stands alone at the top of the list with a "5.0 park benches" score. New York is second with a 4.5 score, with Boston, Portland, and San Francisco tied for third with a 4.0 rating.

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The Trust for Public Land's methodology factors in park acreage (median park size and park size as a percentage of a city's area), service and investment (spending per resident and playgrounds per 10,000 residents, and access (percentage of the population living within a 10-minute walk of a public park).

Last year, NYC's second-place ranking prompted an entertaining outburst of Minneapolis-denigrating butthurt from a Brooklyn-based editor. We haven't seen anything along those lines this time around, but for their part, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board officials are proud of the honor.

"We're thrilled to receive this prestigious honor from the Trust for Public Land a second time," Jayne Miller, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, says in a statement sent our way after we asked park board officials for comment. "When residents voted for an independent Park Board in 1883, they most likely didn't envision a park system that would grow to 6,790 acres of parkland serving more than 21 million visits each year. Today we honor the legacy that created the park system, and continue our work to ensure that parks and park services are accessible to everyone, with a focus on the most diverse, underserved areas of the city. Our strong community relationships, public, private and non-profit partnerships make this possible."

But Minneapolis officials vow to not rest on their laurels.

"As our city grows and draws families to new neighborhoods, our park system must evolve," Susan Schmidt, Minnesota state office director for the Trust for Public Land, says in the statement. "At The Trust for Public Land, we're working especially hard to increase park space downtown, along the riverfront, and in underserved neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis. That's what it will take to stay number one into the future."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]