We're No. 1! And 2: Mpls. edges out St. Paul for nation's best park system

Lynnhurst Park
Minneapolis beat out St. Paul for the title of nation's best park system. Here, Minneapolis resident Wendy Brown, with her daughter Beatrice, watches her older two sons on the playground Sept. 5, 2012, at Lynnhurst Park.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2012

After tying for first place last year, Minneapolis narrowly beat out St. Paul for the title of America's best park system, according to The Trust for Public Land.

The conservation group released its 2016 ParkScore Index Thursday, which analyzes parks in the 100 largest cities in the United States. Minneapolis scored 86.5 points while St. Paul had 82.5.

ParkScores are based on three factors:

• Park access, which measures the percentage of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park (approximately ½-mile)

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• Park size, which is based on a city's median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks

• Facilities and investment, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities: basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds and recreation and senior centers.

Minneapolis outscored St. Paul in park size, but the capitol city rated slightly higher on park access. It appears basketball hoops and dog parks helped push Minneapolis over its cross-town rival — the city of lakes outscored St. Paul on dog parks per 100,000 residents and apparently "gained slightly" from last year by correctly counting its basketball hoops.

Rounding out the top five are Washington, D.C. (81 points); Arlington, Va. (79); and San Francisco (77.5).