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Is Uptown H&M Now a Jesus-y Skate Park?

It's not a Christmas miracle, it's a pop-up hosted by action sports ministry JSAW.

H&M no more!
JSAW at Seven Points

If you’ve been inside Uptown’s Seven Points lately (I know, I know, probably not) you may have noticed something a little different about the former H&M: It’s become a pop-up skatepark, filled with ramps, grind rails, quarter pipes, kickers, and fun boxes. 

“It’s been great,” says Jonny Nelson, co-founder of JSAW, the nonprofit sports youth org that is running the space. “We have already seen hundreds of skaters come through and attendance is growing each week.”  

Dubbed the Uptown Park Project, the space is a humble 4,500 square feet, built by JSAW with help from nearby skate shops Cal Surf and Familia. There’s a nice collection of elements here that allow more experienced skaters to work on smaller tricks, and the space is also way less terrifying for beginners who aren’t ready for a full-blown, crowded skatepark or one of those giant outdoor bowls. 

Founded in 2004 by skater Nelson and investor Randy Monroe, self-proclaimed “action-based sports ministry” JSAW began as a Jesus-forward skatepark in Chanhassen. When that space closed a few years later, the business hosted skate-based summer camps before reopening another park, Edina’s Help Boardshop and Indoor Skatepark.

“Our mission is to make riders into disciples,” explains Nelson in the org’s “about us” YouTube video. “In the Twin Cities there are over 45 skateparks in pretty much every community around the city… there are thousands and thousands of riders who are out there who don’t have a relationship with Christ.”

In addition to open skating, classes, and wakeboarding and snowboarding field trips, JSAW also hosts less typical skater events, including Bible study and addiction support groups for tweens, teens, and young adults. 

“We connect with riders. We build relationships with them, and then when we get the opportunity to share the gospel with them we invite them to join our programs,” says Nelson. “We do small groups and mentoring and all kinds of events.”

Though JSAW is mission-minded, Nelson says that the temporary skatepark is just a non-denominational, friendly hang. “The Uptown Park Project is simply a place to skate for the winter,” he says. The main impetus was to set up a space to host skaters during the colder months, when snow banks and black ice make outdoor skateboarding too precarious. They plan to stay open through April. 

“We really hope the space will bring more skaters to Uptown to shop at their stores,” says Nelson. “We’ve been handing out gift cards to [Cal Surf and Familia] each day at the Uptown Park Project.“

The Uptown Park Project is open Monday through Saturday, and admission is $5 per three-hour session.