Critics who contend Arlington doesn’t have enough park space now have some additional ammunition at their disposal.
Despite generally very high rankings in a new national survey of parkland in the nation’s 100 largest communities, Arlington ranks well below par in the amount of space devoted to parks.
In fact, the survey ranks the county in just the 38th percentile, with 11 percent of its acreage devoted to parks. The average of the 100 jurisdictions is 15 percent.
The updated-for-2020 ranking by the Trust for Public Land maintains Arlington in fourth position among the 100 communities, where it also sat last year. Minneapolis supplanted the District of Columbia at the top of the ranking this year, with D.C. falling to second and St. Paul at third. Following Arlington to round out the top 10 were Cincinnati, Portland (Ore.), Irvine (Calif.), San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.
(The survey looks primarily at cities, but Arlington was included because, while it is a county, it has attributes more in line with a city.)
Critics have contended that the county government often does not do enough to acquire parkland where possible. County officials counter that they do what they can given the scarcity of available land in the county.
Although it did poorly in the total percentage of land devoted to parkland, the county did very well in community access to parks (99th percentile), investment in parks (100th percentile) and amenities in parks (89th percentile).