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MPRB Candidate Questionnaire
Charles Exner

Describe your personal experience with skateboarding. Have you ever been a skateboarder? Do you personally know any skateboarders? What is your general perception of the activity?

I have lived with skaters and know plenty, but my own talent at it is ….laughable. I think it is a convenient, compact mode of transportation for more casual skateboarders and an impressive display of balance, coordination, and quick thinking for more serious skaters.

MPRB currently has 1 skatepark in each of the 6 MPRB districts. Each MPRB skatepark is over 11 years old and is in need of replacement due to poor design and materials. MPRB has invested $0 into skateparks and skateboard infrastructure in the past decade. Over the past 4 years skateboard supporters and City of Skate have worked to have 10 new skateparks designated into MPRB master plans. We hope to have a citywide total of 20 skateparks and skate-spaces, once all masterplanning is complete in 2020. As of today, MPRB has not funded nor prioritized any one of these designated new skateparks. How will you prioritize and work to fund skateparks?

The MPRB has a narrow focus on who they want to please: older, wealthy people and young families. All single adults, and folks in their twenties and thirties are routinely ignored. Skateboarding winds up being one of the activities thrown to the wayside as an “alternative” hobby.

The multi-use space in Hiawatha park would be prime real estate for a skatepark, as well as being a low-maintenance micropark that could be built in one of the vacant or condemned properties in District 3.

My role on the park board would be as a megaphone for renters, activists, and anyone with hobbies and interests that don’t mesh with the Wonderbread idea that the current MPRB has of Minneapolitans.

Adding skateparks, and more adult enrichment overall, is what District 3 needs. I can definitely see adding one to Powderhorn Park in addition to the multi-use space that is set to replace Hiawatha Golf Course.

In 2017 and 2018 Minneapolis is hosting the world’s largest skateboard competition, X Games. During X Games Minneapolis, women and men will compete in skateboarding contests that will also be added to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Skateboarding is seen by many as a worldwide equity activity that has little barrier to participation. Do you see a connection between skateboarding and social, racial, gender, and economic equity? If so, please share a few thoughts.

Since receiving this questionnaire, I have delved into this question and agree 100%. The low cost, and small amount of space, makes skateboarding far more equitable than many activities that MPRB pushes, such as golf. I think the MPRB has an opportunity to offer skate classes or trick classes at the parks and pursue a full-on partnership with skaters of all persuasions.

Skateboarding has always had an appeal to teenagers and kids, but after many decades, skateboarding is now a multigenerational activity that maintains a user group that varies in ages from approximately 4 to 60+ years old. MPRB needs more opportunities for our citizens to be active and creative. Along with skateboarding, what investments and activities can MPRB embrace to make our communities more active and interactive?

The MPRB needs to refocus. Instead of catering solely to wealthy retirees and octomoms, they need to invest in our city’s present and future.

I fully support adding bike fix-it stations at all our major parks along with adding drinking fountains (where possible) along our parkways for bike commuters.

The MPRB could also pursue liability-free roller derby and bike polo classes or leagues. Powderhorn Park has adult enrichment exercise equipment such as balance beams and pull-up bars; more teen and adult-oriented obstacle course equipment should be added throughout District 3.

With little to no maintenance needed, quality concrete skateparks are an efficient use of tax payer resources. Other park amenities like ballfields, pools, ice rinks, and courts need large dedicated spaces and are often expensive to maintain financially and environmentally. Additionally, during the last decade, MPRB has spent more money trying to stop skateboarding via defensive architecture (skate-stoppers) than it has on skateboard parks and/or features. With collaboration during design and build processes, would you support skateboarding via the activation of everyday park features such as benches, stairs, railings, ledges and sculptures for skateboarding?

Everything we add to the parks has potential to be multifaceted for skating, artistic merit, or otherwise. Adding extensions on railings and other park artifices fosters inclusivity for skaters and therefore everyone.

Concrete skateparks are much better than water- and pesticide-intensive amenities, such as golf courses. An even better solution is investigate sturdy permeable pavement for our skateparks, sidewalks, and parkways.

I do not recommend any activity on public art that could damage the artwork. Artistic ramps and trick spots, even some with an element of thrill designed for the expert skater, is a great way to have public art and public skate infrastructure at the same time.Adding murals to our bare park buildings and other aspects of my arts platform can be found at

To be able to practice and challenge their skills, skateboarders have always sought underutilized public spaces like deserted plazas, schoolyards, tennis courts, and parking lots. Often skate culture has brought a “Do It Yourself” (D.I.Y.) creativity to spaces, creating their own skate features and spaces.  Would you be willing to work with the skate community to sanction spaces for skateboarders to create their own D.I.Y. spaces?

Our underused tennis courts have been rightfully re-appropriated by bike polo teams. It is not the MPRB’s job to micromanage how the public commons are utilized. I support removing skate-stoppers and having the basic expectation of common courtesy that skaters will give a wide berth to the elderly, disabled, and young children.

The government takes too much responsibility for the safety of others when it comes to common sense. This was one of the reasons given for not planting apple trees in our parks: someone could fall off the tree when climbing it and sue the park system. Individuals should be allowed to use public spaces as they see fit (barring vandals and litterbugs) with the knowledge that using park equipment in a way inconsistent with its designed purpose means that the MPRB is not responsible for any injuries that result.

If it’s not clear from my answers, I am completely supportive of the public taking control of public spaces. I would happily work with the skate community and in fact give preference to D.I.Y spaces, including locally designed playgrounds, skateparks, and “boot camp” style obstacle courses in our beautiful parks and parkways.

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