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Study shows racial disparity in Colorado Springs park system when it comes to “park space”

KRDO Scott Harrison

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Findings from a national non-profit working to create and protect park space across the United States highlight clear deficiencies in the Colorado Springs park system.

According to a study from the non-profit Trust for Public Land, "residents living in neighborhoods where most people identify as a person of color have access to 83% less park space per person than those in predominantly white neighborhoods."

Trust for Public Land officials says the racial disparity in park space isn't specific to Colorado Springs, the non-profit says it's a problem all across the United States.

“It's not unique at all to Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, about 70 of 100 of America's most populous cities have more park space in neighboring neighborhoods where residents predominantly identify as white versus those neighborhoods of color. That really reflects the history of urban land use development and redlining. Cities used land-use policy to control the resource to city resources by race and by income.”

The non-profit's findings also show that people "living in low-income neighborhoods have access to 26% more park space per person than those in high-income neighborhoods."

The numbers stem from Trust for Public Land's 2022 ParkScore rankings for the country's top 100 most populous cities. Colorado Springs currently ranks at #58, behind Aurora (#33) and Denver (#18).

Trust for Public Land's has conducted the rankings 11 years in a row using numbers from the U.S. census. The rankings consider five elements, acreage, access - homes proximity to parks, amenities - things to do when you’re at the parks, investments - spending enough money to maintain to the parks, and equity - a category added to the rankings in 2021.

Klein says the equity category looks at who has access to parks by race and by income.

“(Colorado Springs) really worked hard in the last many years to improve access for close to home parks," Klein said. "They're building out their neighborhood park network, looking into partnering with schools looking into partnering with other publications for creative strategies to improve close to home park access.”

A prime example of this is Panorama Park in southeastern Colorado Springs. The 13.5-acre neighborhood park adjacent to Panorama Middle School will be the largest neighborhood park renovation in city history and is currently underway, costing $8.5 million.

The groundbreaking was May 8, 2021, and construction is expected to last through early summer 2022.

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Dan Beedie

Dan is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about Dan here.

Comments

13 Comments

  1. A worthless study unless it identifies WHY this is the case. I suspect it is because these people live in apartments in older areas of town that were developed before the park system became popular. Perhaps those apartments should be torn down so more parks can be created…

    1. Yes, something to that.
      Also, low income = lower tax base. Lower tax base = lower quality schools – even within the same school districts! Compare Coronado HS to Mitchell HS. Compare Rudy Elementary to Hunt Elementary. (Now closed.) Compare their parks.
      Lower quality education year after year after year. Lower education = lower ability to work the system to advocate for your neighborhood. And so on. Fewer resources for kids as they grow up. Systemic.

      1. That is not correct. There have been kids who go to Mitchell and get appointments to the Air Force Academy, Harvard and Colorado School of Mines. There have been many who get sports scholarships. A kid if motivated can go far in any school. I am one of those kids who did just that.

  2. I say let’s build a few in these neighborhoods. That way all the thugs can go shoot each other closer to home and keep their violence out of Memorial Park and Chapel Hills Mall just to name a few places.

    1. Let’s make racism wrong again. Shootings occur all over Colorado Springs. Thug is a racist term.

      1. thug noun
        \ ˈthəg \
        plural thugs
        Definition of thug
        1: a violent or brutish criminal or bully
        .
        I don’t see anything in there that identifies race. If the shoe fits, wear it. White folks can be thugs too.

    2. Whose Property are you going to Confiscate, for the parks to be put in retroactively?

  3. Ok This makes little sense. One one hand they say:
    “residents living in neighborhoods where most people identify as a person of color have access to 83% less park space per person than those in predominantly white neighborhoods.”

    Then they note….

    The non-profit’s findings also show that people “living in low-income neighborhoods have access to 26% more park space per person than those in high-income neighborhoods.”

    So what are they really saying. People of color in high income neighborhoods don’t have park access? This is a bogus study and means absolutely nothing.

    1. Confusing statistics, yes. Bogus study, no. Unless you’re white and not poor and you don’t care about anyone but yourself.

      1. So tell me what is the real world implication of these findings?
        A person of color would go further in life if they had access to a park?
        A person of color would make more money if they had better access to a park?
        A person of color is less of a person because they have limited access to a park?
        So yes, it is a bogus study that really means nothing except performed by a person who now feels better about themselves because they pointed out a statistic having to do with people of color, and it makes it sound like there are racist people out there not building parks where there is more people of color.
        Also with the demographics of this state and town, being more white people. Statistically this will happen no matter what.

    2. “The non-profit’s findings also show that people “living in low-income neighborhoods have access to 26% more park space per person than those in high-income neighborhoods.”
      So does this mean we need to build more parks for the rich too??

  4. “That really reflects the history of urban land use development and redlining.”
    .
    Not really. What it reflects is that the newest developments had larger parks designed into them by the developers, not the parks department. The homes in those neighborhoods were for sale to anyone, of any race.

  5. How FAR is Close Enough? I recall having to walk or bicycle about a mile, to the nearest park. HAT is A Question NOT Addressed, in this article.

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