NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This weekend’s weather looks pretty good for spending some time in a park. However, in a nationwide study, one group ranked Nashville’s parks near the bottom of the list, so News 2 decided to find out why.
For Noel Durant, the Tennessee state director for Trust for Public Land, nature is where he finds peace.
“I try to go to a park on a daily basis just to enjoy a little quiet time,” said Durant.
Durant’s organization has been ranking parks for years in its ParkScore index. In this year’s ratings, Nashville slipped down the list.
“In 2022, Nashville was 86th, and in 2023, dropped to 93rd out of 100,” said Durant. “Nashville dropped this year in comparison to previous years.”
The ParkScore team takes a holistic approach in these rankings, looking at the following factors: amount of park space, amenities, distribution of parks between neighborhoods by race and income, money invested, and the ease with which residents can access and walk to a park.
“A core function of city government, providing access to the outdoors for everyone,” Durant said.
According to Durant, it was money and access that hurt Nashville’s score the most.
Last year, Nashville invested $52 per person in its parks, but that investment dropped to $45 this year. For the sake of comparison, the national average is $108.
Meanwhile, Durant told News 2 his organization is eager to keep working alongside Nashville officials to “pursue greater park access, especially for communities that need it most.”
Even though Nashville is near the bottom of the list in the ParkScore index, Music City still has some of the largest parks in the rankings.
“For Nashville, I think a real shining element in their ParkScore is their park size,” Durant said. “Nashville’s acreage of park per resident is among the highest in the country.”
Trust for Public Land also researched health benefits with parks, determining that the cities with the best parks also had better physical and mental health.
Click here to check out the full ParkScore rating for America’s 100 largest cities.
News 2 reached out to Metro Parks and Recreation for a comment about Nashville’s ranking, but the department did not reply before this article was published.