Over half of San Antonio residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, a measure of improving access to green space, according to the Trust for Public Land’s 2022 report.
The organization issues an annual report that assesses green space and ranks cities based on what the trust calls a ParkScore. The score factors in five characteristics of an effective park system: access, investment, acreage, amenities and equity. To see the full report, click here.
Compared to other cities, San Antonio moved up to No. 59 this year, compared to last year’s rank of 60, and has steadily improved since 2018, when it was No. 67. San Antonio remains in the lower half of the top 100 U.S. cities for parks and in Texas trails Plano (No. 15), Austin (39) and Dallas (53).
The report found that 52% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, up 4% compared to last year. In 2020, the number was just 43%.
“We continue to make strides and see positive trends in movement in providing access to our parks and amenities,” said Connie Swann, marketing manager for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, in a prepared statement.
Continuing improvements to access come in part from a partnership with local school districts, which open their recreational amenities to the public after school hours, said the department.
“Creative solutions such as the use of utility easement corridors for trails and repurposing city property help provide more spaces within a 10-minute walk,” Swann stated.
San Antonio spends $107 per resident each year on publicly accessible parks and recreation, about average compared to most cities, according to the report.
Projects funded by the 2017-2022 city bond, the city’s general fund and grants added green space and amenities to the city’s park system.
In 2021, three new parks opened across the city, including Shadwell Park, North San Antonio Hills Park and Pipers Meadow Park, and new park trails and trail extensions were completed at Southside Lions Park, Mud Creek Park, Friesenhahn Park and Caracol Creek Park. Three new dog parks were added: at Oscar Perez, Kingsborough and Maverick Park. Amenities to the dog parks were also added, Swann said, such as parking, trail connections, lighting and shade canopies.
Approximately 10.9% of the city, or 33,911 acres, are dedicated to parkland, according to the report.
For the second year, the report rated each city based on equity, measuring the fairness in distribution of parks in neighborhoods by race and income.
The report found that San Antonio rated below average for people of color living within a 10-minute walk of a park and for low-income households. In distribution of park space, San Antonio residents living in neighborhoods of color have access to 14% less parks nearby than those living in white neighborhoods. However, residents living in lower-income neighborhoods have access to 36% more nearby park space than those in high-income neighborhoods.
“As we advance this work, we focus on equity, listen to the community, and engage in dialogue to ensure we are being responsive to the needs of our diverse communities,” Swann stated.