The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is moving forward with plans to upgrade its skate parks by partnering with a local skateboarding advocacy coalition, City of Skate.
The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the group last week as part of a long-term partnership to improve skate parks in the city.
The skateboarding organization will collaborate with the Park Board on its Skate Park Activity Plan and raise funds for future parks and improvements to current parks.
“They have the energy and the passion for skateboarding and really want to see some fantastic facilities in the city,” said Colleen O’Dell, a Park Board planner and designer. “We are really excited to work with them.”
City of Skate, a coalition of skateboarders and parents, seeks to improve skate parks in Minneapolis and St. Paul, draw more people to the sport and promote skateboarding events.
The local skateboarding scene has grown with the support of private indoor skate parks. City of Skate hopes to change that by offering public parks fit for the next generation of skaters.
The Park Board plans to add skate parks to Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park and Northeast Athletic Field Park. Between 2002 and 2004, the Park Board constructed six skate parks at Armatage, Bottineau, Brackett, Creekview, Elliot and Morris.
The Park Board estimates a skate park at the Northeast Athletic Field Park would cost between $900,000 and $1.2 million, and a skate park at the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park would cost about $500,000.
City of Skate has worked with the board previously for community engagement and input on the Skate Park Activity Plan. In 2013, the board met with a committee of skateboarders, parents and interested parties to hear feedback on the Skate Activity Plan. The board also held two public meetings and received 1,300 responses from a survey on skateboarding. Responses called for unique parks with different attractions and no fences.
For example, comments on the plan for Morris Park said the existing park was an eyesore and that the skate ramp was cracked. Skateboarders also asked for improved surfaces to skate on and for art to be incorporated into Minneapolis skateboarding parks.
The Park Board will release a draft of its skate park plan this summer and hold a public hearing on its proposed Skate Park Activity Plan soon after. The plan will be open for a 45-day public review.
“We are hopefully laying the groundwork for Minneapolis to really be known for its skate parks, world-class skate parks, and develop a skateboard infrastructure, so every child, youth and person in the city has easy access to a skate parks,” said Paul Forsline, City of Skate’s president.
While plans are still up in the air for the new parks, Forsline said they could feature bowls and ramps higher than 4 feet. Forsline said he hopes to make skate parks an inclusive space for the whole community. He said the new parks could feature stages for concerts and screens to watch skateboarding videos.
“As we progress, we see the skate parks to be a location where we can hold events,” he said.
Along with providing input, City of Skate will team with the Park Board to promote skate park plans on social media.