Oahu falls behind other spots when it comes to park access, funding

Oahu falls behind other spots when it comes to park access, funding

OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A recent report by The Trust for Public Land found that 65 percent of Oahu residents live within 10 minutes walking-distance to a park.

The new report ranks park scores for the largest cities in the United States based on park access, size, amenities, and investment. Honolulu, whose score comprises all parks on Oahu, ranked 48th out of 100.

Nationally, 70 percent of residents in large cities live within 10 walking minutes of a park. Last year, the report found that 85 percent of urban Honolulu residents live near a park, but the expansion to include all of Oahu brought the score down by 16 spots compared to last year.

"We at the Department of Parks and Recreation had anticipated a drop in our Trust for Public Land score this year because of a drastic change in the scope of the report," said Michele Nakota, Director of the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, in a statement.

"It is important for us to look at our parks in all areas of the island, and while Urban Honolulu has a higher density of park facilities (which boosted the score in the past) it is not representative of the entire City and County of Honolulu," Nakota said.

Local officials requested that the Trust for Public Land include all of Oahu in the ranking this year to help improve park planning.

Minneapolis, Minnesota grabbed the top spot for the third year in a row. Charlotte, North Carolina received the lowest ranking among large cities.

"High quality parks make cities healthier in nearly every way," said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president for The Trust for Public Land. "Proximity to parks increases physical activity levels among children and adults, reducing risk for obesity, diabetes, and other serious health conditions."

"Parks also help clean the air, mitigate the risk of storm damage, build relationships among neighbors, and contribute to economic growth," Benepe said.

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