Memphis Parks Near Bottom of National Survey

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – Memphis is near the bottom of another list. This one ranks the city's park system. But city leaders say what's not to love?

Memphis makes plenty of lists, from best barbeque to most miserable. But many say picking on our parks is really off-putting.

Many consider Overton Park an oasis in the middle of Midtown.

"You can play and run around and everything," said Andre Pressley.

He was taking his son Friday night to the Levitt Shell.

"Because it's so fun," said his son Jaquan Shipp.

They could not believe the non-profit Trust for Public Land ranked Memphis's park system among the lowest in the nation.  Memphis is tied with Tucson, Arizona at number 31 out of the 40 largest cities.

"On some national surveys you win, on other national surveys you lose," said Memphis councilman Myron Lowery.  "What day is it?" he asked.

Lowery sits on the council's parks committee.  It helps oversee all 157 public parks, including Shelby Farms.  It is the nation's largest urban park.

"I've never heard residents complain about not having a park in their community," said Lowery.

The survey doesn't necessarily criticize the number of parks in the city.  It focuses on accessibility and the percentage of people who live within a 10 minute walk of the nearest park.

The survey says only about 40% of Memphis residents live within a half-mile of a park, regardless of how lush and large they are.

Mayor A C Wharton reacted to the survey as well.

"The ability to access and enjoy great parks and green spaces is the right of everyone who calls our city home," he wrote in a statement.

Wharton said he looks forward to working with the local community and critics alike to further enhance the city's park system.

San Francisco, CA ranked at the top of the top 40 list for having the best park system.  Fresno, CA was last.

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