The Best Park System in Texas: How the City of Plano Earned the Distinction Three Years in a Row
July was Parks and Recreation month, and with it came the annual Trust for Public Land’s 2023 ParkScore rankings.
This year, the City of Plano’s Parks and Recreation Department won the top spot in the entire state of Texas for the third year in a row. (Nationally, the City of Plano’s park system ranked #16—also an impressive accomplishment.)
To help achieve this distinction, the Parks and Recreation Department leverages OpenGov Cartegraph Asset Management to continue improving the services it offers, as well as the work it does behind the scenes to keep its parks operating safely and efficiently.
Acreage, Investment, and Access Make for a Winning Combination in the City of Plano
The annual ParkScore rankings evaluate park systems in the 100 largest cities in the U.S., ranking them from #1 to #100. Out of these rankings, park systems can be recognized as both the best in the entire state and the best in the entire country.
To rank park systems, ParkScore uses 14 measures across five different categories—acreage, investment, amenities, access, and equity.
Plano was a top performer among other Texas cities across all five categories, but it especially excelled in the areas of acreage, investment, and access.
- Acreage. The median park size in the City of Plano is almost 14 acres. That’s almost triple the national average from ParkScore, which is 5.4 acres.
- Investment. The City of Plano spends $196 per person on its park system. That’s the most money spent per capita of any park system in the metropolitan area (neighboring Dallas spends $124 per person).
- Access. 80% of residents in the City of Plano live within a 10-minute walk of a park.
Clearly, the City of Plano prioritizes its parks. With 142 parks total and extra perks like free guided nature walks, not to mention the large annual per capita investment noted above, part of the City’s winning strategy is to make sure its parks get the resources they need every year.
[Related read: What is a Facility Condition Assessment?]
But the City hasn’t just rested on its initial accomplishments. Instead, after winning in 2021 it has continued to strive for greater improvements.
Last year, the number of residents that live within a 10-minute walk of a City park increased by 3%, a fact that demonstrates the Plano Parks & Recreation Department’s commitment to continuous improvement. 3% may not seem significant, but for the City of Plano that’s a lot more people that now have access to natural spaces—8,650 more people, to be exact.
In addition to being named ParkScrore’s #1 park system in Texas, the City of Plano also recently:
- Was a 2022 finalist for a gold medal from the NRPA in 2022.
- Won both the 2022 Agency of the Year and the 2022 Program of the Year Award from the North Texas Aquatics Association (NTAA).
How Cartegraph Asset Management Supports the City of Plano Parks & Recreation Department
A key part of the City of Plano’s Parks and Recreation Department’s winning strategy has been the use of Cartegraph Asset Management for tracking work orders and prioritizing asset management.
With so much acreage to maintain, the Department has personnel constantly in the field. So much so that its usage of the Cartegraph mobile app has exceeded its usage of Cartegraph on desktop—a testament to the team’s commitment to being based in the field, not in the office.
David Angeles, Assistant Director, Parks Department, recently shared with OpenGov that the top focus in the Department’s work was on the resident experience.
Demonstrating this focus, the City has steadily reduced the amount of time it takes to complete work requested by residents over the last five years, both for City parks and other areas of service. In 2019, about 68% of work requests made by residents were completed within seven days. Today, it’s over 92%.
The move to get almost all resident work requests addressed within a seven-day window has been enabled by the City’s use of Cartegraph Asset Management, since it helps City teams be more efficient in tracking and executing their work.
Before Cartegraph, much of the tracking the Parks Department did was done manually in spreadsheets, making the data hard to manage and hindering the speed with which work orders could be processed and completed.
“OpenGov has [made] sure that we can continue to press the software and really be on the front end of how we can utilize it. And I think that there’s an understanding between our organization and OpenGov that there’s value to the great community when we can do that. And so it’s been very refreshing.”
David Angeles, Assistant Director, Parks Department
Looking forward, the Plano Parks and Recreation Department plans to collaborate with OpenGov to create a public-facing dashboard that will allow residents to see maps for the entire park system. It also plans to build a 311 system to make it easy for residents to share information about the City’s parks.
Category: Asset Management