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.