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Minneapolis Reclaims Crown For Top Park System In The Nation; St. Paul Ranked At No. 3

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis has reclaimed its crown for the best park system in the nation.

Overnight, the Trust for Public Land released its annual rankings. In it, Minneapolis edged out defending champion Washington, D.C., which slid to second.

The ranking points out that 98% of Minneapolis residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, which is up 2% from last year. Minneapolis has held the top spot on the list for four of the last five years.

"Our parks today have taken on a deeper significance. We know from national data that transmission of COVID-19 goes significantly down outside, and it's even lower when people are moving through those outdoor spaces," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "Our parks are really a sanctuary, a place to escape. And that's taken on a whole new meaning in 2020."

Meanwhile, St. Paul dipped from second to third place.

Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization, said that while progress has been made nationwide in parks, many city park systems have reached a critical tipping point, citing "widening inequities in equitable park access" and COVID-19-related budget cuts causing irreversible damage down the line.

"When stay-at-home orders permitted, people increasingly turned to parks, trails, and public open spaces to connect with nature, exercise, and enhance their mental and physical health. Residents deeply value parks, but continued inequity and the risk of future budget cuts threaten severe damage to the park systems that make many cities so livable," says Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land.

The lowest-ranked park systems were listed as Oklahoma City (OK), Mesa (AZ) and Charlotte (NC).

Minneapolis will start reopening its parks Wednesday after weeks of being closed due to the pandemic. Hoops and tennis courts will be going back up, and playgrounds will reopen.

Click here for more on the ranking.


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