San Antonio ranks 44th in nation's top park cities

SA parks director responds to low ranking


SAN ANTONIO – The list of the nation's top park cities is in and San Antonio ranks near the bottom, coming in 44th out of 50.

It's not much better or worse than in years prior, but it definitely leaves room for improvement.

The list, called the Parkscore index, is published by the Trust for Public Land.

Park visitor Katrina Lewis said Brackenridge Park is among her favorites.

"It's just beautiful. (The) scenery is beautiful, (the) trees and flowers, it's nice here," Lewis said.

While there is plenty to do at the park, she said she would like to have more options closer to home.

"I think it would be a good idea maybe to help kids get out more, especially if it was in the neighborhood," Lewis said.

One of the areas of the survey where San Antonio didn't score well was park access, which measures the percentage of people who live within a 10-minute walk to a park.

"We look at offerings in the park, we look at amenities in the park, we look at historic features in parks," said San Antonio Parks and Recreation Director Xavier Urrutia.

He adds San Antonio's focus has been on the utility of the parks, which is something the Parkscore survey does not rank.

"We've added 30 fitness stations in the parks. We've also implemented fitness in the park, which has free yoga classes, free pilates, free strength-training classes," Urrutia said.

There are 14 skateboard parks citywide and, in addition to the 41 miles of hike and bike trails along the creekway system, there are another 40 miles in the works.

San Antonians can also expect another $86 million to be poured into park projects, funded by the 2012 bond program.

"The good parks that they have are just wonderful. There just need to be more I suppose," said park visitor Michael Cochran.

There is currently only one neighborhood park slated for completion in the Thunderbird Hills neighborhood but, according to Urrutia, the city is looking into more access to green space.

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