Scribe

Charlotte Parks - the big picture...

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Scribe    56

Since we have a Charlotte Greenways thread, I figured we should dedicate a thread to parks in general.

So, in 2nd Ward topic @kermit brought up the ParkScore by the Trust for Public Land: http://parkscore.tpl.org/city.php?city=Charlotte

I initially replied there, but this subject should be discussed in depth - and I could not find a thread that was dedicated to Parks overall (not just greenways). In my reply I compare it to Seattle - http://parkscore.tpl.org/city.php?city=Seattle

The CharMeck Parks and Recreation website has details on all existing parks: https://www.mecknc.gov/ParkandRec/Parks/Pages/default.aspx

Quote

 

Yes, that is a good starting point for discussion.

Problem is it favors more smaller parks and dense cities.

Overall Charlotte is ranked 97th/100 vs.  Seattle which is ranked 11th/100...

For example Charlotte gets 20 (max) vs  Seattle gets 4 on park size.

SIX times the area... but Charlotte has TWICE the park acreage of Seattle... so the stat of within 10 minute walk is always going to be low and couple that with Charlotte having huge nature preserves like Ready Creek and Latta Plantation that are massive and act as attractions for the entire city not just the surrounding neighborhoods this score is not a great representation for Charlotte...

I also gotta say we do well with the little money we spend!

Spending -- nevermind, I need more coffee:

  • Seattle spends 669,850x$279.30 = 187089105.00 that is 187 MILLION dollars
  • Charlotte spends 862,032x$44.80 = 38619033.60 that is 38 MILLION dollars
  • Charlotte spends 1/5th of what Seattle spends but maintains TWICE as much acreage...

59b2d5324ba90_CLT-parkscltstats-seattlecomparison2.PNG.fa360ea0a3d7512f4b109bfdc2f011d7.PNG

Now for Seattle:

59b2d5343fb0f_CLT-parksstats-seattlecomparison.PNG.f369be8883acd53c6567a4b365e77082.PNG

 

As for Charlotte, we are serving everyone pretty equally. Just need more of it.

59b2d407e845a_CLT-parksstats1.PNG.ed101754a99629359d0109660c2bcac7.PNG

 

All in all, what I've learned is that, all of you who are beotching about the reduced size of Marshall park, should instead demand that every acre lost should be opened somewhere else as a separate park in the city so that it brings up our park score and makes @kermit happy ;)

What these stats confirm - yet again - is that the devil is in the details and you can make the details confess anything you want, with enough creativity.

 

 

Edited by Scribe

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Scribe    56

Spending some time today visiting friends in Mint Hill, I noticed that their (pre-great recession) neighborhood had a trail system going through the big  neighborhood. (this is in addition to their playground and club house).  That got me thinking that the ParkScore does not account for all the park-like amenities and facilities that our neighborhoods provide - and this is especially true to the neighborhoods that are further away from city center.

In my neighborhood, the club house has a pool and tennis courts, but in another part of the neighborhood we have a half acre park.

None of these are represented in the ParkScore, but they are a benefit to the people that live right there. Many (if not  most) of the neighborhoods with pools/clubhouse also have a play ground somewhere in the neighborhood.

Could that be the reason why Charlotte focuses on - what I call destination parks - Ready Creek, Latta Plantation etc.  In general our parks tend to be bigger compared to other metro areas with the median park size being 16.6 acres... (compare that to 2.4 acres for Seattle)

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tozmervo    2469

 

On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2017 at 8:32 PM, Scribe said:

Spending some time today visiting friends in Mint Hill, I noticed that their (pre-great recession) neighborhood had a trail system going through the big  neighborhood. (this is in addition to their playground and club house).  That got me thinking that the ParkScore does not account for all the park-like amenities and facilities that our neighborhoods provide - and this is especially true to the neighborhoods that are further away from city center.

In my neighborhood, the club house has a pool and tennis courts, but in another part of the neighborhood we have a half acre park.

None of these are represented in the ParkScore, but they are a benefit to the people that live right there. Many (if not  most) of the neighborhoods with pools/clubhouse also have a play ground somewhere in the neighborhood.

Could that be the reason why Charlotte focuses on - what I call destination parks - Ready Creek, Latta Plantation etc.  In general our parks tend to be bigger compared to other metro areas with the median park size being 16.6 acres... (compare that to 2.4 acres for Seattle)

I believe their methodology only includes public parks. In part, it's why I think ParkScore is one of the least useful of the "Scores" out there. I also think parks become a lot less critical/useful in large-lot suburbs, to the point where expecting  a park is practically wasteful. 

Case-in-point, one of ParkScores "high need" areas includes the entire eastern half of Myers Park, including much of Queen's campus, the booty loop, and MP Country Club. I mean, come on. 

image.png.fac44743e3283f6357f4726e3a1e503e.png

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Scribe    56

@tozmervo agree on the silliness of Myers Park as "high need". (they do not list the playground and basketball courts at Eastover Elementary - even though I know the neighbors use it all the time after school is out and during summer... )

What are the other park scoring reports/services?  Which one do you think is closest to accurate?

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SgtCampsalot    931

Yeah I can see Park score being difficult to aggregate. A park is a specious thing that in theory could exist anywhere and everywhere; they are patches of natural Earth on which one can perform activities. And what's more every suburban home has its own micro park by design.

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teeg    55

This is even sloppier than last year.   My comment on their last index follows below. 

They managed to fix the city population (862,032 is at least reasonable).  

But they are still counting total land area for the entire county.  

And now, it looks like they took away 7,300 acres of parks from their calculations.  In 2016, they gave us 21,293, which is close to what Mecklenburg County reports.  This year, it's 13,990.  I assume that the difference is Mecklenburg County run parks outside of the Charlotte city limits.  

So this year, park area as a pct of city area is 4.0%.  Last year, it was 6.4%.   

 
Quote

 

I looked at this yesterday:  

http://parkscore.tpl.org/city.php?city=Charlotte

It immediately jumped out at me that they have Charlotte Population at 999,426, and land area 332,295 acres.  So they're really talking about Mecklenburg County, right?  

But if you look at their little map, they are generally not counting parks outside Charlotte.  Just Mecklenburg County parks?  Did they not know that the other municipalities own their own parks?  

When you look at the page for Raleigh, you'll see that they do not count Wake County outside of Raleigh. 

 

 

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Scribe    56
1 hour ago, teeg said:

This is even sloppier than last year.   My comment on their last index follows below. 

They managed to fix the city population (862,032 is at least reasonable).  

But they are still counting total land area for the entire county.  

And now, it looks like they took away 7,300 acres of parks from their calculations.  In 2016, they gave us 21,293, which is close to what Mecklenburg County reports.  This year, it's 13,990.  I assume that the difference is Mecklenburg County run parks outside of the Charlotte city limits.  

So this year, park area as a pct of city area is 4.0%.  Last year, it was 6.4%. 

Wow, thanks for pointing that out... looks like it's run by amateurs... or worse, it's manipulating the data on purpose!

Is there not a better analysis of large metro parks throughout US?

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teeg    55

I am not aware of anything "better", but then I am not sure what "better" would look like.  These sorts of city ranking schemes are all terrible in their own special ways.  Even if they had not mixed city and county stats both years, I would be no more impressed with the approach.  They are deciding what is important for their system, but why do they get to decide? Counting basketball hoops and dog parks, but not tennis courts and walking trails?  Ignoring unofficial parks (the playground at Eastover Elem, the subdivision common areas)?   There's something magic about living within 10 minute (1/2 mile) walk of an official public park, and that's called 'access'?  This reminds me of that "fittest city" ranking list that used donut shops per capita as a metric. 

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ah59396    2912

Personally I think investment in the parks the city has would be far better than seeking out new land to build parks onlyto meet some silly criteria.  Similar to the Marshall Park conversation, design and functionality matter.  Romare Bearden wows us all because it's clearly well funded, well kept and incorporates incredible aesthetics.

 

Improved lighting at our parks for safety in the evenings

Improved washroom facilities system wide!

Greenway connectivity

A tear down and rebuild of Discovery Place Nature with vast improvements

Improved signage! 

And so on and so forth.

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tozmervo    2469
7 hours ago, ah59396 said:

Personally I think investment in the parks the city has would be far better than seeking out new land to build parks onlyto meet some silly criteria.  Similar to the Marshall Park conversation, design and functionality matter.  Romare Bearden wows us all because it's clearly well funded, well kept and incorporates incredible aesthetics.

 

Improved lighting at our parks for safety in the evenings

Improved washroom facilities system wide!

Greenway connectivity

A tear down and rebuild of Discovery Place Nature with vast improvements

Improved signage! 

And so on and so forth.

Last I knew, DP Nature was in the middle of fundraising for a major renovation. I haven't really heard where they're at in the process in a while.  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article44178129.html

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