PPC Staff Returns from Educational Visit to Top-Ranking Park System


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC) staff members, City of Pittsburgh officials, and civic leaders have returned from trips to Minneapolis, where they visited one of the highest-ranking park systems in America and the former home of PPC President and CEO, Jayne Miller. 

The Minneapolis park system, while under the leadership of Jayne Miller, consistently ranked as the #1 park system in America for six years, scored by the Trust for Public Land. As of the most recent 2019 ranking, Minneapolis now ranks #3, just behind Washington D.C. (#1) and St. Paul (#2). 

"It was an educational trip for PPC staff to see what Minneapolis was able to accomplish in its park system and to have a better understanding of what--and how--we can also improve the City of Pittsburgh's park system," Miller said.

PPC staff members were joined by Pittsburgh city officials, including Lisa Ceoffe (City Forester), Ross Chapman (Director of Citiparks/Parks and Recreation Department), Mike Gable (Director of Public Works), Dan Gilman (Chief of Staff for Mayor Bill Peduto), Andrea Ketzel (City of Pittsburgh landscape architect), Marcelle Newman (Operations Coordinator), Tom Paulin (Superintendent of Public Works), and Lindsay Powell (Assistant Chief of Staff) during the two-day trip.

The group explored the Minneapolis park system, including Minnehaha Regional Park, Powderhorn Park, North Commons Park, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, and Lake Harriet on Monday and Tuesday, August 19 and 20. A second group, consisting of PPC board members, a media representative, and civic leaders, visited Minneapolis for a similar tour on Wednesday and Thursday, August 21 and 22.

Minnehaha Regional Park

"Seeing improved amenities, from strategically designed and well-maintained park pathways and gardens to the renovated gym at North Commons Park, helped us to better envision our goals for our own park system," John Pepper, PPC Director of Marketing and Communications, said. "It was an educational experience for us all."

renovated gym at North Commons Park

From December 2018 through April 2019, PPC and the City of Pittsburgh hosted a series of meetings, named "The Parks Listening Tour," where they collected data and community input from more than 10,000 residents across 70 Pittsburgh neighborhoods. In July and August 2019, PPC representatives and the City of Pittsburgh hosted a second series of meetings, "The Parks Listening Tour II: The Parks Plan," in which they shared with the public the data and input they collected during the first phase of The Parks Listening Tour. That information is available in its entirety here.

The Parks Conservancy will soon announce additional "The Parks Listening Tour II: The Parks Plan" community meetings. Stay tuned for more information, or subscribe to the right to be notified by email of park news, events, and updates.