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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?
I’ve been honing my skating skills since we passed the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park Master Plan. I often dream of the day I get to drop into the bowl at the Nok-Hia skate park. My son, his friends and a number of my neighbors also skate. Skateboarding is not a crime, its a sport, and a fun one at that!
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?
While I appreciate that the funding since initial investment in skateparks has been abysmal, I would not characterize the $70,000 spent on improvements to the Elliot Skatepark as zero investment. With the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan’s infusion of capital and maintenance dollars into the system the MPRB is able to get away from the capital investment focus on replacing playgrounds and wading pools that do not comply with current safety standards and regulations, and can expand our investments in other types of amenities including skateparks. There are a number of park properties currently in the CIP which have skateboard features or are anticipated to have skateboard features included in their master plans due to community desire for them. The process for prioritization is now driven by community feedback. If you do not already connect skateboarders to opportunities to weigh in on prioritization, I suggest you do so in the future.
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.
I do. Skateboarding doesn’t require a coach, doesn’t require much in the way of equipment, and doesn’t need to be scheduled. . .you can skate whenever you feel like it, which makes it a really appealing sport to people that might otherwise not be inclined to be physically active or participate in sports.
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?
Improved trail connections, more pickleball striping, expanding the diversity of recreation offerings and providing multi-generational programming.
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?
If we can find a way to clearly identify what infrastructure is designed to withstand the wear and tear of skateboarding on it, yes.
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?
As a D.I.Y.er myself I understand the attraction in creating something with your own hands, however, with the labor and fair bidding agreements the park board has to comply with I do not see D.I.Y. skateboard park creation as something that is possible on park board property. I am fully supportive of ensuring that skaters play an integral role in the design and planning process for new and redesigned skateparks.