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MPRB District 2 Candidate
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?
Eric Moran – I always wanted to get into skateboarding more; in high school I hung out with the skateboarders but never did it more than some light driveway skating with friends. I do know a few local skateboarders and enjoy watching it quite a bit. As a person of color the skateboarders in the suburb where I grew up were some of the friendliest people I knew. I’m more into street skating than I am vert skating at least for watching others skate; I’ll sometimes find myself deep into YouTube watching videos of Isamu Yamamoto or Rodney Mullen. I also love watching adaptive skateboarding videos, seeing these riders gives me a ton of inspiration.
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?
Eric Moran – North Minneapolis and the North Loop have a lack of accessible skate parks and safe skating spaces. The park at Juxtaposition Arts was just opened in the last few years, otherwise the only skate park in North is at the park at Creekview/Olson Junior High. Skateboarding for the longest time has felt very exclusive, and seeing other people of color or non-male skateboarders was not the norm. Prior to the pandemic I rode past the park at Juxta daily on my bike ride home and would frequently see people of color skateboarding and providing them expanded space in North is critical to making skateboarding more inclusive going forward.
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.
Eric Moran – I absolutely see skateboarding as an activity that is inclusive and helps bring equity. Skateboards are not only a social and sporting activity, but they are also a form of transportation. I frequently see people using a skateboard between their homes to transit lines and again as a ride between transit and their destination. With this in mind as we continue to expand our transit system with bus rapid transit and light rail extensions such as the Blue Line that will cross through North Minneapolis and the North Loop providing different parks across Minneapolis is key to knocking down the barriers that exist.
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?
Eric Moran – The MPRB Skate Park Activity plan is a strong place to start rebuilding the support needed with skateboarders in Minneapolis. Working with the community, especially in places like North Minneapolis which has been long neglected in terms of skateboarding until 2019, is also key to building up the skating community. Skateboarders are often targeted as a nuisance or causing vandalism however it has been shown that by giving skateboarders a well-built and maintained skate parks we can drastically reduce the need for street skating. Skateboarders of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities need to be heard when it comes to these parks. It’s crucial that we are building an equitable system for all skaters, across Minneapolis. As future parks are built we need to be building these with these voices in mind, for all levels and abilities.
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 Planningin 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?
Eric Moran – Revisiting the plan put forth by the MPRB is important to me in not only bringing equity but also in providing a safe space for people of all ages and backgrounds to skateboard within the city. Additionally building future skate spaces needs to be viewed with accessibility in mind. Locations, access to transit, and accessible features need to be considered with any construct, for both skaters but also spectators. Skate parks are crucial to a successful parks system and skateboarding is an effective way to build and expand inclusive communities across Minneapolis. As a board member I would support funding to review and complete the plan completed in November 2017.