Shanelle Smith Whigham is the Ohio State director for the Trust for Public Land, which just released its 9th annual ParkScore index, a ranking of the park systems of the 100 largest U.S. cities by access, acreage, investment, and amenities. She resides in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood with her family. She was named to the 2018 Grist 50.
As the weather begins to warm up (and especially after nearly two months of living under stay-at-home orders), everyone has been looking to get outside. For kids in the Stockyards neighborhood here in Cleveland, that will likely mean heading to the closest thing they have to a nearby “park” — a vacant lot bounded on one side by railroad tracks and a broken-down, chain-link fence on the other.
The neighborhood has come together to create a de facto park using donated benches and picnic tables, and the lot is sometimes mowed, but it’s also filled with weeds; there are no basketball courts, water fountains, or even bathrooms. For thousands of kids across the country, this kind of space is the closest thing they’ll know to a park. One hundred million Americans — including 28 million children — do not have access ... Read more