Minnetonka is poised to get a new skate park, after a local teacher and a group of young skaters encouraged city leaders to replace the community's aging facility.

The existing Glen Lake Skate Park, on Excelsior Boulevard, is over a decade old. Its ramps are dangerous to ride on, and equipment is sinking into the blacktop.

"They currently have a very small — and I won't even call it a park — we call it 'the skate spot,' because it's just some kind of old, shoddy equipment that never gets used," said Else Goll, a math teacher at Minnetonka Middle School East who helped students advocate for a new skate park.

The City Council is scheduled to give feedback Dec. 7 on plans for the new park, which will be five times bigger than the existing, 4,000-square-foot park. The new facility is expected to open in fall 2024, according to city staff. Three to four potential sites are being considered, though the city has not yet made them public.

The updated skate park is estimated to cost $1 million to design and construct. Of that, $600,000 will come from Minnetonka's Community Investment Fund, $300,000 from state and county grants and $100,000 from the city's Park & Trail Improvement Fund.

The park will likely be a hybrid of two styles: a traditional street plaza style with rails and stair sets, as well as a more flow-based design with smaller skate bowls, said Matt Kumka, Minnetonka's park and trail project manager. Plans will incorporate public art and environmental sustainability, he said.

"This could end up being a pretty special regional park that isn't like anything else in the Twin Cities," Goll said.

Minnetonka is one of 35 cities in Minnesota looking to build new skate parks, said Paul Forsline, president of City of Skate, a nonprofit organization advocating for more skate parks throughout the Twin Cities. The group has lobbied the state Legislature for a $15 million grant program that would provide matching funds for skate park construction and renovation.

"There's a true need for quality skate spaces in Minnesota, and it's not going to go away, and these communities actually need the resources to build them properly," Forsline said.

About five years ago, Goll started the Minnetonka Skateboard League at Minnetonka Middle School East with about 30 students. The group grew to more than 70 students before the COVID-19 pandemic, Goll said, and about 50 participated last year.

"It's a sport that's not a team sport, but you're also not alone in it," said 12-year-old Preston Snyder, who joined the League last year. "Because if you keep failing a trick over and over again, everybody else at the park is right there with you, cheering you on."

For years, Goll said, the group has had to leave Minnetonka to skate, opting instead for the 3rd Lair Skate Park and Skate Shop in Golden Valley.

Young skaters say they're hopeful they'll soon have a place to skate that's closer to home. Kumka said the city plans to involve skaters from the League in the planning process.

"I want a skate park out here ... I think that if they can do that, it can bring, obviously, new skaters to the community," said Gavin Barrett, a 13-year-old skater in the League. "And they can also give people that already skate in Minnetonka a park to go to that's free."