September 17, 2012

Trueridden, All Over Again

Photos by David Fink and Andy Conrad, respectively.

It's mid-September but feels like October, and two new skate plazas from west to east in the Twin Cities are near completion. Up top is the Eden Prairie plaza, a revamp of a forgettable decade's old Trueride park; below is the Woodbury plaza, more or less the same story*.

Remembering back to the first wave of millennial parks around town, these new concrete developments actually seem to be a cause for optimism. For example, Fink's Twitter reaction to EP is hopeful and the photo above of the Woodbury spot seems to show that they got two things quite correct, being open space and ledges.

We've also had some time now to digest plazas (or parks; the semantics wear on me) in Plymouth and St. Cloud. The general consensus seems to be that both are at the very least a worthwhile skate here and there, with St. Cloud being the obvious "skater's choice" at the end of the day.

There is also the matter of the new Richfield park, which is reportedly somewhat of a waste of space. I haven't seen it first hand, but it sounds like it's a smaller version of Plymouth, though not laid out as well. If there's one thing we learned about Trueride parks, it's that not all of them were created equal, which absolutely must apply to Action Sports Design parks, the firm responsible for St. Cloud, Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Woodbury and Richfield.

Last Friday Night's Cocktail Question: Are we getting Trueridden, all over again? In other words, do we really want the same design firm to be called in to create essentially different iterations of the same thing all over the metro area? London Luke brought this up, in light of Richfield, and it's very difficult not to conclude that this is a bad idea, because it's already happened before.

Looking at the EP pictures above, it's easy to see a kind of "modularity" about the way the park is designed: drag and drop obstacles. Are these obstacles a (literal) big step up from the 3-foot-and-under Trueride ramps of yesteryear and (shudder) the incompetence of Bottineau Park? Absolutely. How long will "new and concrete and not fully-standardized" continue to be a step up?

Feeling cynical about these new parks/plazas isn't satisfying. A lot of people put in time with Parks and Rec departments, city councils and the like to make them happen. I'm sure care and attention to detail went into the design proceses. It's now a future matter of making cities aware that a similar cycle of park building (and now replacement) took place where a single builder flooded the area with small variations on the same thing, leading to only a brief period of contentment. We'll remind them: Concrete is much more permanent.

*Right? Never skated the previous Woodbury park nor know who built it.

Home Grown throwaway:


Anonymous said...

Meh, I think that the obstacles themselves have enough variety at these new parks, but I agree with you in that the materials and construction all feel the same. It would be cool if we could get another park like oakdale that isn't in oakdale.

BG said...

from someone whos long since dropped out of the local skate scene here, i think, judging from the looks of it on here and from what ive read/heard, that these parks are for sure a big step up from the shitty trueride parks that were popping up like zits when i was coming up about ten years ago. personally, just having a nice cement ledge or two with enough smooth ground in front and back would be more than enough to keep me happy and coming back. anything more than that would be a bonus in my mind.. i think as long as their set up half way decent, doesnt end up infested with thousands of little kids, and if the bikers dont ruin the ledges, that these parks wouldnt be half bad to atleast practice shit at with out the worry and distraction of having to constantly leave and come back leave and come back...

my opinion for whatever its worth.

Leibman said...

The new Richfield park is pretty legit except for the fact that it's set up in the shape of square perimeter. This allows young bikers to go around and around as many times as they like while constantly being in the way.

GG said...

Or how about a worth while, outdoor skatepark that doesn't require a 20 minute drive from Minneapolis to get to...

Not holding my breath on that one.

That being said, I do appreciate the fact that while skating in the city, cops can't give out the standard, "go to the skatepark" kickout.

Dan Rusin said...

According to Concrete Disciples, the old Woodbury park was built by TrueRide. The city almost put in new prefab ramps before we convinced them to do a plaza-type park. We had the option of going with American Ramp Company (the company that did Oakdale), but we decided against it because the Oakdale park is five minutes from the Woodbury one. Also, the nearest park by ASD at the time of planning was Plymouth, which is across the metro. When we were doing layout stuff, we wanted it to be a street-oriented plaza to contrast against the other "plazas" around here that are more of cement-covered ramps.

As for the construction materials being the same at new parks/plazas across the metro, I don't think it's too big of a deal. As nice as it would be for each park to be built differently, it's not like there's a plethora of surface materials to work with. Although I would really like to see actual red paver bricks (like at the Government Center)instead of the molded concrete thing they've been doing.

sprntrl said...
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Halfpipe of Odin said...

did I just hear someone complain that there isnt a park closer than 20 minutes to mpls? Holy shit! If there was a good park less than 4 hours from mpls I'd be happy!
Well put about the generic conrete pop ups! A team pain or grindline park would be the shit! LEts not forget that spohn ranch is true ride!