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MPRB District 4 Candidates

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?

Jono Cowgill – I love skateboarding! I’m not good but used to be in itin high school. Many close friends skate.

Elizabeth Shaffer – I grew up in a rural area that did not have access to safe areas to skateboard (think county roads 12 miles from a small town) so unfortunately it wasn’t something I did. Because of this personal experience, I support your mission to create more skate spaces to allow a greater number of people to learn and participate! If I were to try to learn today…I think I would hurt myself. :) My favorite spot to appreciate others enjoying the sport is downtown Chicago along the waterfront…very inspiring. My general perception of the activity is that it is still in its growth stage. Now that we have the first ever Olympics skateboard team, I think it is on the cusp of international growth!

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?

Jono Cowgill – Safe, quality public spaces for skateboarding increases participation

Only Elliot Park and, of course, the iconic Smith Triangle. Need more!

Elizabeth Shaffer – In District 4, MPRB has made recent strides…. Smith Triangle coming, Elliot close to completion and the new plan for downtown. I know everyone will miss the Bde Maka Ska location once construction starts at the refectory!

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.

Jono Cowgill – I do, skateboarding is a low cost, accessible sport for many. It doesn’t require registration fees or substantial investment to have fun. It is an incredibly diverse user base relative to other local rec activities.

Elizabeth Shaffer – Having skateboard events in the Olympics is an important step in recognizing and supporting all sports through a more equitable framework. For a sport who has recognized and celebrated its’ platform for equity in our urban areas across race, gender and economics, it is about time!!

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?

Jono Cowgill – Put MPRB CIP dollars and County rec dollars towards realizing the skate park vision of Minneapolis. Continuing to support Senator Scott Dibble’s Skate Park bill at the State.

Elizabeth Shaffer – I am a teacher and mom and have been supporting kids my whole life. I know from experience that the more activities and greater variety of activities that you can offer youth the better! Skateboarding is a great activity for kids in cities to build community…..discipline to learn new skills, positive reinforcement and encouragement from peers as share space, taking risks and just being together.

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?

Jono Cowgill – Yes.

Elizabeth Shaffer – I support the MPRB Skate Park Activity Plan! As far as determining if more skateparks should be placed into locations that are more highly-ranked on the equity matrix….I believe this has to be a direction determined by the local community, first and foremost.