Mesa Parks System Named Among the Worst in the Country

If you're a fan of public parks, Mesa probably isn't the city for you.

The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit organization, ranked Mesa's parks system 56th out of the 60 largest cities in the country.

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"In evaluating park systems, experts at The Trust for Public Land considered land owned by regional, state, and federal agencies within the 60 largest U.S. cities--including school playgrounds open to the public and greenways that function as parks," the organization explains. "Our analysis is based on the three most important characteristics of an effective park system: acreage, services and investment, and access."

Phoenix was in the middle of the pack, tied with several other cities at 28th. Tucson was 42nd.

The median park size in Phoenix is 11 acres, compared to 3.1 acres in Mesa. The percentage of city land dedicated to parks is 15 percent in Phoenix, and less than 3 percent in Mesa. Phoenix's total park acreage is more than 49,000 acres, compared to Mesa's 2,281 acres. (Phoenix's South Mountain Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the country, is more than seven times the size of all of Mesa's parks put together.)

Per-capita spending on parks is about $20 less in Mesa than it is in Phoenix, although in Mesa, about 60 percent of residents live with a half-mile of a park, whereas only 45 percent do in Phoenix.

The top three cities in the nation for parks are Minneapolis, New York, and Portland, in that order.

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