Carmel spends more than 4 times as much per person on parks than Indianapolis

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The city of Indianapolis tied for last place in a recently released ranking of park systems in large cities. The Trust for Public Land created a ParkScore survey to look at park size, resident access and facility investment. Indianapolis tied with Fort Wayne for 98th place.

On average, city governments across the U.S. spend about $80 per resident on parks, while Indianapolis spends only $35 per person, although that amount is up from $26 per person in 2016.

The City of Carmel wasn’t listed in the ranking, but according to officials, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation spends $158 per resident using the criteria established by the Trust for Public Lands in identifying the $35 figure for Indianapolis.

The number is calculated from a three-year average from 2014 to 2016 on capital and operational expenditures divided by 95,770, the most recent population estimate for Clay Township as of July 1, 2016, available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It is important to note that the $158 figure under-represents spending on parks within Carmel when comparing to Indianapolis or the other cities included in TPL’s ParkScore 2017,” Carmel Clay Parks Director Mark Westermeier said.

Westermeier said when reviewing the study’s methodology, the numbers in the report include capital and operational spending by all agencies that own parkland within city limits, including federal, state and county agencies. The $158 per resident only includes spending by Carmel Clay Parks and does not include additional spending on park land within Carmel owned and managed by the City of Carmel, such as Brookshire Golf Course, the City Green, public space around City Hall and others. The $158 figure also doesn’t include spending by Hamilton County Parks & Recreation, such as Coxhall Gardens and River Road Park.


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