On a sweltering July 14, Cullan Luther had the Elliot Park skateboard park all to himself. The 22-year-old was unaware that Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Police and staff, Park Board Commissioner Vivian Mason, and sponsors Cal Surf and Erik's Bike Shop would officially dedicate the 1000 E. 14th St. park an hour later.
The Elliot Park facility was built with a $10,000 anonymous donation, and is one of six skate parks either built or under construction through the MRPB's Capital Improvement Program. (Luther was excited to hear that a similar one is under construction at Bottineau Park, in Northeast, near his home.)
Luther has been using the 6,000-square-foot park since last fall, he said. Travis Hegland, Elliot Park's director, said the Park Board waited until the weather got better for the official dedication. Hegland said there are quite a few teens and adults using the park. Luther said a group of "old-schoolers" comes around once in awhile - skateboarders in their mid-30s who live in the neighborhood.
According to a Park Board press release, local youth were consulted in the design of the Tier One park (which limits structures to 4 feet high.) Luther said the concrete and metal park is decent - "well-made but not well-designed." The ramps, half-pipe and rails are a little too big for the space, which should be 100 feet bigger, he said. Luther warned of the "deadly" strip of slippery black plastic that runs along the middle ramp, which offers no traction, he said.
Still, Luther was happy to have the park, a preferable alternative to Downtown streets, which he skates at night but sometimes gets "kicked out" of or even thrown in jail over.
"For a free park, I'll take whatever I can get," Luther said. "That's why I'm here."
One thing the park lacks is a broom, Luther said. Fallen branches can be a hazard, and skateboarders often carry brooms, he said.
The skate park is located near the tennis courts.