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Charlotte Talks: Mecklenburg Parks At The Bottom Of National Rankings, New Parks Director Weighs In

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Flickr/cheriejoyful
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

For five years, this area has been at the bottom of national rankings for parks. We talk with the new director of the park system about that and about whether proposed funding is enough.

Charlotte is proud of its parks and public green spaces, but a new national ranking of public park systems again put Charlotte at the bottom. The Trust for Public Lands, a nonprofit dedicated to neighborhood parks, ranked Charlotte's parks 97th out of 100 of the largest US cities for quality and investment in parks. We have ranked at or near the bottom of the study for the last five years.

A map on the ParkScore ranking website shows areas of Charlotte most in need of parks in red (very high) and orange (high).
Credit Trust for Public Lands
A map on the ParkScore ranking website shows areas of Charlotte most in need of parks in red (very high) and orange (high).

Charlotte received high marks for park size, but low marks for park proximity, accessibility, and per-resident spending. We're also way behind on developing our greenway system even though bonds for that development were approved years ago.

The county's proposed budget includes money for the parks system, but is it enough? Parks advocates say funding for our park and recreation system is not adequate. In a city growing by leaps and bounds, they argue our parks are struggling to keep up. Mike Collins talks with the new director of the county's park system and others to get an update on the status of our parks.

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Credit WFAE/Jennifer Worsham
Charlie McCabe, Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, Lee Jones, Director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, and Heidi Pruess, Chair of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission.

Guests

Lee Jones, Director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation

Heidi Pruess, Chair of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission, an advisory body to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners

Charlie McCabe, Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence

Related resources:

Mecklenburg County Park and Rec website

The Trust for Public Land's ParkScore ranking for Charlotte

Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.