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MPRB Candidate Questionnaire
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?
My sister, my nephew, and many friends are avid skateboarders. I think it’s a great form of both recreation and transportation!
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?
I believe it is very important to have areas that are designed specifically with skating in mind, and will absolutely support funding them! I was disappointed that one was not included in the Commons, when that was originally advertised as part of the proposal.
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.
The low barrier to participation is definitely a great thing about skateboarding. I don’t see the connection to gender equity (I’d observe that the large majority of skateboarders are men) but it definitely helps racial and economic equity!
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?
We need our parks to serve everyone, which means we need to support a broad variety of activities for people of all ages.
I’d say encouraging more people to use active transportation will be my top priority as a commissioner. Skateboarding is one form of that, along with biking and walking.
At this latitude it’s also an especially high priority to make it easier for people to be active during the winter, to get sunlight and exercise. So one of my top priorities is to increase snow shoveling maintenance for sidewalks, bike lanes, and skateparks! The regional parks get very well shoveled, but the neighborhood parks often do not and we need to improve on that.
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?
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?