Skateboarders flipped and spun their boards Friday morning, trying to win a trick contest in the newly upgraded Elliot Park Skate Plaza.

The street-style skate park at the edge of downtown is now the biggest in the Minneapolis park system. It includes a seat wall and quarter pipe, as well as rails and ledges. Pieces of colored concrete were mixed in to make the park aesthetically pleasing. It was designed by California Skateparks, which designed the skate park at the Tokyo Olympics.

The top prize in the trick contest went to north Minneapolis' Lucas Hooper, who walked away with a brand-new skateboard as his reward. He said he had never won a contest before in 20 years of skateboarding.

The trick contest was part of a ribbon-cutting event for the new park, which also featured free skateboard rentals, skateboarding instructions and free ice cream.

"It's great for the community and for all the kids to start skating," Hooper said. "I come here a couple hours a day."

Project manager Andy Schilling said skaters already had gravitated toward the park, at 8th Street and 9th Avenue S., for two weeks before the official opening.

The Elliot Park skate park was first built in 2004 but was dismantled last August to make way for improvements. The previous park was half the size and made up of nonpermanent elements, according to Schilling. The new upgrades include more expensive, permanent pieces.

"It's a growing sport. There's been an existing need for it. It's something that if you go there any time in the last couple weeks, it's very well used already," Schilling said. "It's a really good way for people of all ages to interact."

Other additions were made next to the skatepark, too: Patio seating allows visitors to relax and watch the action. New lights added last year for the nearby athletic field also illuminate the skate park. The park added eco-friendly elements including two rainwater gardens to capture runoff from the concrete.

The $700,000 project was funded by government grants along with some donated materials and plans. The X-Games paid for the park's design.

The upgraded space is part of the Minneapolis Skate Park Activity Plan, aimed at increasing the number of quality skate parks in the city over 20 years.

Local nonprofit City of Skate was instrumental in pushing the Elliot Park Skate Plaza forward, and President Paul Forsline said more skate parks are on the way. In conjunction with the city's parks and rec department, Forsline said his organization has planned 21 more locations for skate parks, pending funding.

Another new skate park is slated to open at Painter Park next year.

Zekriah Chaudhry • 612-673-7186