Local skateboarders have been asked to provide ideas for the design and operation of a permanent concrete facility.
Eden Prairie area skateboarders have something to look forward to this summer.
The city's only skate complex in Round Lake Park, which is nearly 15 years old and comprised of old, worn-down wooden structures, will be completely renovated starting this spring, replaced by concrete ramps and new equipment.
And the cherry on top of it all, said Eden Prairie Parks and Recreation Director Jay Lotthammer, is that the skating community will get to lend a hand in deciding the final design.
Three public brainstorming sessions have been held so far where residents -- predominately young skateboarders and bikers -- have met with parks and recreation officials to discuss layouts, surfaces and components they'd like to see in the new project.
"We don't have a final design yet," Lotthammer said, "but the kids who have come to the meetings have given us a great idea of what types of accessories to include in the renovation."
Representatives of Action Sport Design, a San Diego-based consulting firm helping to determine the final layout, were in town last Wednesday for a meeting with Parks and Rec officials.
Kanten Russell, Action Sport project manager and a former professional skateboarder, said his team's priority is to make sure the final layout is exactly what the community wants.
"We got a lot of feedback from the meetings," he said -- information passed along by Parks and Rec officials who ran the sessions. "What we'll do next, then, is take those ideas and create concepts and present it back to them. We want to make sure that, as a whole, everyone can look at our design and say, 'Yes, that's just what we were thinking.' "
This won't be Action Sport's first project in the Twin Cities area. The firm has helped design new skate parks for both Plymouth and St. Cloud.
Accessories for the Eden Prairie park, Russell said, will include smooth concrete ramps, jumps and obstacles set in an urban-terrain design.
Lotthammer said the cost of the renovations, around $225,000, will come from Eden Prairie's Capitol Improvement Program funds.
"There isn't any life left in the current park," Lotthammer said. "Skateboarding, as a hobby and culture, has kind of emerged and changed in the area, and we knew that engaging the user group, the skaters, would help us make the best end-product possible."
Russell agreed. "You've got a lot of people skateboarding now in Minnesota," he said. "With these new parks coming up, it makes them a part of the community -- and they look good, too. We want to make them positive places where kids of all skill levels can come and ride daily."
The Eden Prairie project is in the planning stages at the same time as a similar project in Woodbury, which also is renovating its current park with the help of Action Sport. Both parks are tentatively set for completion in late June or early July, Lotthammer said.
"This will be a really good improvement," he said. "I think everyone who's been involved at the meetings will gain a lot of satisfaction, too, being able to be a part of the process while it comes to fruition."
Eric Larson is a Twin Cities freelance writer.