OPINION

Viewpoint: Central Park Skatepark is one of the most successful in region

Submitted by Todd Bratrud
Crookston Times

    I’m writing to hopefully bring attention to the upcoming removal of the Central Park Skatepark, a Skatepark that I doubt most of the community is even aware exists, but within the skateboarding world its very well known and beloved! It’s being removed soon as a result of the planned RV park in the same location...

    Let me introduce myself to give you a little perspective on my involvement in the skateboarding community...

    My name is Todd Bratrud, I was born and raised in Crookston, I now live in Fisher, where I make my living as an illustrator, mostly working within the skateboarding world, I’ve designed hundreds of skateboard graphics over the past 25 years as well as having designed many shoes for Nike SB... I’ve also had my hand in designing skateparks.

    I spent the last 10 years working with the parks Dept of Grand Forks designing their new skatepark (construction for phase 2 starts in a couple weeks). Myself and Brian Rydell of The Rydell Car Dealership spend the last few years getting donations and working with local construction companies to get in-kind donations for concrete and other things involved in the park building process. I know a lot about how to get a good skatepark designed working along with a city as well as the skateboard, bike, rollerblade and scooter community’s  that will use the park to make the best possible combination of what all involved want/need... also, my father, (Doug Bratrud) originally worked with the city to get the central park skatepark built in the year 2000, mostly by recycling cement objects the city already owned that he knew were appealing objects to young skateboarders!

    I wanted to let the city of Crookston know, that this little skatepark is arguably one of the most successful skatepark in northern MN, most nice days you will see multiple vehicles down there, many coming from other towns IN groups  just to ride, more than 20 people there at once is normal on a nice day! Teams of professional skateboarders have went out of their way while on demonstration tours just to skate the park and film videos, some of them with youtube views over 50,000! People visit from all over the country, specifically to ride this little park, it’s simplicity and location is what’s so appealing about it. It’s evolved slowly over time by necessity, it was originally designed to be a place the people using it could bring their own obstacles, obviously the flood every spring washed it all away year after year until people started rebuilding the most popular obstacles out of cement so they would be more permanent. We are well aware it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s popularity is a testament to the fact that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make what the people using it want most! In fact, most everything down there has been paid for, built and maintained by the people using it.

    Previously there have been talks with the Parks Dept about a few options, the best idea so far is building a new area of similar size as what already exists, but just at the top of the hill from where it is now. Another idea was expanding and renovating the skatepark park at the sports complex. Both would be good options and depending on what’s possible the community of people that use the skatepark would like to help design a great space as well as help fund raise if needed and even physically help built it, whether it’s hiring a national park building company to do it, or to work within MN to hire freelance builders with lots of park building experience.

    I’m writing this representing the voices of the people who use and love the Central Park Skatepark, we wanted to reach out to try raise awareness for the need of an adequate replacement of the Central Park Skatepark.

    The Disk Golf community is facing the identical issue with their well used Disk Golf course already removed in preparation for construction.

    We are not even arguing for or against the RV park, we just hope that if such a special place is lost in the wake of the RV park, that there is a way to make sure there continues to be a free-to-use, inspirational public place for the youth (and all ages) of Crookston and the surrounding areas were people can congregation in a positive, creative way!

    Thanks for your time.

Todd Bratrud

Fisher, Minnesota

    Bratrud says you can find the Central Park Skatepark on Instagram at @crookstonswampdiy

Todd Bratrud was pictured in the Crookston Times several years ago using an earlier, more primitive version of the skatepark in Central Park. Users and proponents have made numerous improvements to the skatepark in the years since.
Todd Bratrud says that the Crookston Central Park Skatepark is one of the most successful in northern Minnesota, with a consistent crowd of local residents as well as enthusiasts from across the region coming here to skateboard.