Plenty of green for green spaces

The City spends a lot of green on its parks.

San Francisco spends more per resident on its parks — and has more of its space dedicated to parks — than almost any other big city in the nation, according to a report.

The City spends $268 per resident on its public parks, with much of that money, $194 per resident, going toward maintenance, according to the study by the Trust for Public Land.

“With 230 park facilities across The City, maintenance will always be part of the equation, but our city remains committed to investing heavily in capital needs,” Recreation and Park Department spokesman Elton Pon said.

San Francisco voters approved two hefty bonds to support park improvements, including a $110 million bond in 2000 and a $185 million bond package in February.

“San Franciscans have gone to the ballot box several times to demonstrate their support for our park system,” said Joe Arellano, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom. “They understand that investment is vital.”

San Francisco spends $26 more than the No. 2 city, Seattle, and had the third-highest ratio of park land to total city land, behind New York and Washington, D.C., according to the report, which ranked 50 large American cities.

San Francisco spends $76 per resident on adding new parks or new amenities in existing parks, which still puts it in the top five for such spending, according to the report.

In other rankings, however, San Francisco didn’t fare as well.

The City came in 34th for its ratio of recreation centers to residents, 40th for its relative lack of skate parks and 41st for its ratio of playgrounds to people, according to the report.

Nationwide, the Trust for Public Land found that cities are spending more on parks, and doing more to expand park spaces.

“As America rediscovers its cities, it is rediscovering the importance — and joys — of its city parks,” trust Director Peter Harnik said.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

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