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City of Lakes turns into the City of Skate with help of a local nonprofit & the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board

There's a movement to bring more skate parks to Minneapolis in order to create positive community spaces for all, on this week's Communities that KARE.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — From riding the waves of Bde Maka Ska to riding the walls, it's a Summer of Skate on the Chain of Lakes.

"For us, it seems like it's been an under-served community, and finally, it's just time to catch up," said Scott Oreschnick, local business owner and vice president of City of Skate, a nonprofit that advocates for community skateparks throughout the Twin Cities.

We caught up with Oreschnick at the pop-up skatepark in the Bde Maka Ska north parking lot. This location is just the beginning of a movement to make skateboarding a permanent fixture in the Minneapolis Parks System. 

The Bde Maka Ska project started with a few local kids seeing an opportunity after the devastating 2019 fire that took out the Lola on the Lake restaurant. "When the city repaved that area in a kind of holding pattern for the redevelopment of that space, a couple of kids just started putting out skate obstacles and using the blank space," explained Oreschnick.

Unfortunately, there were safety concerns with skaters bringing in their own obstacles and supplies. So the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board had to shut down the operation. But that was only temporary.

"This young man, Art, put up a petition to the city to save the spot and within two days had about 1,500 signatures. So right away, the Park and Rec board saw the need," recalled Oreschnick.

That's when City of Skate dropped in on the planning process, along with volunteers and fellow skaters Ian Wheat, Dan Pergrin, and Witt Siasoco.

"Our overarching goal is to get a world-class skate park built in the city," said Oreschnick. 

RELATED: Pop-up skate park coming to shores of Bde Maka Ska

The park design is a culmination of suggestions and vision from the local skate community. "All the obstacles were either built by the Park and Rec board based on the stuff they allowed the skateboarders to say, 'These types of things you know we prefer,'" said Oreschnick. "A lot of the rails are salvaged from other parts of the parks system."

The upcycled space is sticking around through 2023. The Parks and Rec board will reevaluate its use after that. 

Having the pop-up park stay that long is fantastic news for skaters and volunteers like Ian Wheat, who work the ramps. "The culture and the friendship and the social bonding is what's important to me," Wheat said, "If you like what you see, your voice makes more of this, more positivity in the community."

Plans are moving forward for a new skatepark at Painter Park, expected to open in 2023.

RELATED: Just like an Olympic skateboarder, KARE 11's Guy Brown puts his wheels to the pavement

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