This page is an archive. Visit our voter guide for current elections.

At Large(Citywide)

NO RESPONSE from Londel French and Dan Green

1) 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?

Meg Forney – As an extremely active user of our park system, I support diversifying the recreational options in our system.

Katherine Kelly – I tried to skateboard when I was a youth. Then years later when I was 19-20 I worked in Winter Park, Co. The next town over was Fraser, CO about 5 miles down hill. My friends would take their long boards from town to town. These cool cats let me sit on the board while he or she navigated the smooth path between the towns. Do I know Skateboarders in 2021? Yes, some of my best friends and their kids are skate boards. My son likes to ride his Razor RipStik. This is an awesome sport. I watched skateboarding on T.V. for the Olympics!

Mary McKelvey – I haven’t skateboarded much, but I am an avid roller skier and rollerblader, so I know that having decent paved surfaces that small wheels don’t get stuck in is very important for enjoyment and safety. I know some skateboarders. My perception is that skateboarding attracts athletes who may not be interested in team sports, and they have individual flair

Tom Olsen – I was a skateboarder for a few years in late elementary school and early middle school. I was never that good though, I could barely ollie, but I did break my ankle at 3rd Lair so I feel like that gives me a certain amount of credibility. I think skateboarding is a fantastic activity for people of all ages. It is a great exercise, teaches one how to overcome fears, how to persevere, and how to get up when you fall down, along with many other great life lessons.

Alicia D. Smith – I have a had variety of experiences with skateboarding from firsthand to creating opportunities for others through youth programs. I personally know a few skateboarders and I think they are wonderful people. I think skateboarding is great and offers endless hours of being active.

2) Skateboarding has always had an appeal to youth and kids, but after many decades, skateboarding is now a multigenerational activity (ages 3-60+ years). Minneapolis needs more opportunities for our citizens to be outside, active and creative in community social spaces.

Do the communities you would represent have existing quality, accessible and visible skateboard spaces at the moment?

Meg Forney – Across the Minneapolis Park and Recreation system, multi-generation usage has expanded. Now having Master Planned all the Service Areas in the system, the aspirations of each community can be implemented as capital is funded.

Katherine Kelly – I see youth and adults skateboarding on the streets in Minneapolis. I am glad the Elliot Skate Plaza had a grand opening this year because this allows everyone to enjoy a smooth ride and showcase those cool tricks. I find skate parks in the twin cities by my friends telling me the hot spots. Finally: The local parks by my home do not have skate parks at this time.

Mary McKelvey – I live closest to the Armatage Park skate park. It’s a small park with just two ramps, but it gets a lot of use in the summer and after school. Sometimes it’s used for kids to just hang out in. There’s a chain link fence around it, which may be necessary, maybe not. I’d like to know what you think. There is another skate park slated for expansion at Painter Park, and a new one on 28th street triangle close to that one. I am supportive of all three of those locations set forth in the SW Service area master plan.

Tom Olsen – There are depressingly few public skateparks in Minneapolis, I think at the moment we are at 3-4 with a couple more in the pipeline. But even the ones we have don’t offer a large variety or high quality of skate features. Most residents of Minneapolis don’t live within a short skating distance to a a skatepark, that should change.

Alicia D. Smith – Some of those communities have these feature and many do not. I would be curious to see how we might think creatively about added them in communities where they are desired but have been historically marginalized from this sport.

3) Women and men will compete in 2 new skateboard events at the 2021 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.

Meg Forney – Love this picture at Juxtaposition Skateable Art Plaza! Hurrah for the creativity of JXTA. Definitely there is a gap in service to our diverse community. All aspects of the system will be utilizing racial equity matrixes, to reduce racial inequities and improve success for all groups.

Katherine Kelly – Yes, I believe there is a connection. When I was a young adult I saw a young man unable to drive due to DUI(s), so he rode his skateboard all over town (to work, to home, to see family, and out with friends). Today, I see people ride skateboards to save money and save the planet. I see people ride for their health and wellness. People ride for the lifelong connections they make with friends and community.

Mary McKelvey – This photo (Juxtaposition Skateable Art Plaza) shows racial and gender equity for sure. My immigrant neighbor claimed to have stayed out of trouble, met mentors, and travelled by the grace of competing in skateboarding.

Tom Olsen – As long as you have the desire, a board, a place to skate, and maybe half decent shoes, you can be a skateboarder. There is a very small financial requirement and you don’t need a full team or organization to get the full experience. Simply put, it is very nearly a barrier free activity (with the greatest barrier being public disinvestment), which means that it is an equitable activity. I also think it is one of few modern sports that wasn’t designed by white men for white men. So many of the sports and leagues we love to glorify have histories steeped in racism, segregation, and misogyny. Skateboarding doesn’t have a lot of that historic burden so people can come to it and skate how they want to without having to worry about what is ‘proper’ or ‘traditional’ holding them back.

Alicia D. Smith – Certainly there is a connection between the things listed above. Typically there has been no inclusion of poor working class communities of color in the design nor locations of skate parks. Access to the skateboarding equipment itself sometime proves to be financial barrier for those same people left from consideration. If we also explored the amount of negative and physically aggressive interaction with authority and skaters that further complicates things as if Black and Brown people need another reason to be profiled and victimized by the system.

4) Skateboarding is an individual challenging activity that can be done alone, but flourishes at community public skateparks that also can work within our COVID-19 era of social distancing.

How will you support skateboarding, skateparks, and what other ideas, proposals do you support to serve all youth?

Meg Forney – Advancing MPRB’s 2021 Legislative Agenda with Skate Park funding as a priority aligns with the value of these recreational amenities. The 2020 bonding bill contained a $250k grant for construction and renovation of public skate parks.

Katherine Kelly – Growing up I would see TV shows and commercials from the west coast skate parks and I always think what if we had that level of skate in the midwest. You know, places for roller skating, skateboarding, people lifting weights outside, food trucks, basketball, volleyball. soccer. ect. all in one park. That way there could be bleachers and everyone can support the different sports. (This is just an idea. : ) I support many things for youth and the MPRB is on the right track with a lot of their plans. As a candidate for Park Board Commissioner At-Large I would support skateparks and skateboarding with MPRB outreach, connection, engagement, work, volunteer moments, training, workshops, ect. until we find the right proposals that grab our youth and our communities attention that we are part of the City of Skate.

Mary McKelvey – I will advocate for the maintenance of all existing skateparks, collection of data about the building and placing of new skateparks, and promotion of ways to access skateparks safely via skateboard. As a secondary teacher and parent of teens, I believe the parks should be the place where teens and young adults feel welcome and belong. Not all kids can or want to make the few team sports offered n parks right now. Skateboarding is one of the activities that fits some kids who don’t do traditional programming. It would be great to have more adult mentors and coaches connected to the parks for a variety of sports and life. The MPRB has already identified a $2 million annual shortfall in funding adequate youth park programming, and I believe there should be a long-term plan in the city budget for funding recreation for the next 20 years, like the NPP20 plan is for capital improvements.

Tom Olsen – Quite simply I will put our money where my mouth is and vote to fund skateparks when it comes up, and I will happily transform underused baseball diamonds (for example) into skateparks that include community art and environmental/climate mitigation features. We have been the home of the X-Games and I think that is something our city should embrace and encourage. If the X-Games return I would love if we could partner with them to create state of the art skateparks that are visible and located where folks will use it. I would also want to see community outreach and charity programs to help kids get their first board or quality shoes. Once we have MPRB skateparks that we can really be proud of, I would like to see a sponsored league or some form of competition or festival to bring our skate community together so we can have a place to share resources and grow the community. I think something like this could also go a long way towards normalizing skateboarding so folks who don’t support it lose some of their fear or apprehension when it comes to skateboarding. I also think that we could fund a skateboarding training programs so that beginners of all ages could have a low cost way to learn and participate in the sport.

Alicia D. Smith – I will support in varied ways by connecting with skaters and the skateboarding community personally as well as bringing those voices to the table to have influence and decision making power. I don’t want to dictate what folks need I want to hear from the people and partner to make it happen.

5) In 2018 MPRB approved a Skate Park Activity Plan that was a 5 year process that began in 2013 with a Community Steering Committee. Additionally, with the completion of MPRB citywide Master Planning in 2020, 20+ skatepark and skateboard spaces have been approved system wide.

Will you support funding to help complete the MPRB Skate Park Activity Plan and the 20+ spaces already designated to provide safe skateboard/wheeled spaces for youth and communities? Are you willing to champion an annual line item on the MPRB CIP directly for new, improved and accessible skatepark facilities in the high equity rated parks for prioritizing recreational youth development?

Meg Forney – I will continue to weigh the priorities of our youth and our climate resiliency in a fiscally sustainable matter that is based on equity-driven data metrics as well as support diversification of our funding streams.

Katherine Kelly – Yes, I will support the skate master plan. If MPRB has this in the master plans, I hope they would have a fund set up to make these items happen. Oh my goodness, yes I would say we need to fix up or create at least one new skate park a year to have all 6 districts with working skate parks. Yes, I would be a champion for skateboarding and skate parks. Just don’t ask me to let go of the fence, bench, or your shirt when standing on a skate board. Thanks!

Mary McKelvey – Yes, I will support the current plan, as well as the completion of all new skate parks added in approved master plans, and the funding to complete the Skate Park Activity Plan. I am happy that there are so many skate parks slated for north and uptown Minneapolis now. While I agree that skate parks should be maintained annually, I would need to look into whether a line item in the CIP is the best way to ensure funding. I have some questions about the sport of skateboarding, and look forward to learning more about it from you during my campaign.

Tom Olsen – Yes and yes. Perhaps I should say more, but this is absolutely a priority of mine and I will fight to fund it.

Alicia D. Smith – I am certainly in for championing the funding for positive youth development. If I maybe honest there are also other activities that maybe needed as well however I do believe there are creative solutions to these programs which creative programs may allow one programs challenge to become a solution to the other. For example youth programs that teach young people the of becoming a carpenter or design engineering, using their skills asking with a train professional could easily build and repair wear and tear to our parks or build boards for those who would like to try and can’t afford to purchase.