In a nationwide assessment of city parks, Fresno ranked 97th out of 100 cities in the U.S.

The 2016 ParkScore Index takes into account each city’s park acreage, park spending, accessibility of parks to residents, and available park and recreation amenities and calculates its score based on these areas.

A community-led #Parks4All Mayoral Candidate Forum, co-hosted by the Department of Recreation Administration and Office of Community and Economic Development, among other partners, will address this and other issues related to parks, recreation, open space and community health in Fresno.

Questions about specific steps to implement and create #Parks4All in Fresno will be addressed to both Fresno mayoral candidates — Fresno City Councilmember Lee Brand and Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea.

The forum will give Fresno voters an opportunity to hear the candidates discuss the issues and offer a chance to ask questions.

“We are interested in hearing what our mayoral candidates have to say about this,” said Dr. Sam Lankford, professor and chair in the Department of Recreation Administration. “The goal is get this topic on their agenda, so that we can strategically find the places that we should build more parks to ensure access to all residents. We hope they’ll lead the charge. It can easily be done with the right leadership in the community.”

According to the Fresno Bee, park access is a sore spot for the city, with only 54 percent of residents citywide living within a half-mile, or a 10-minute walk, from a park. The national average is 69.5 percent.

The forum will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Parc Grove Commons Community Room (2674 E. Clinton Ave.) in Fresno. The event is free and open to the public, but guests are asked to register at parks4allforum/

Other event hosts and partners include Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Communities for a New California Education Fund, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, League of Women Voters of Fresno, and The Trust for Public Land.

For more information, contact Sam Lankford at 559.278.2624 or or Jenna Chilingerian at 559.278.6119 or 


View Lankford’s interviews at the following news links:

Central Valley Today (9/21/16)

KMPH Great Day (9/21/16)

Fresno State Press Release (9/14/16)