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Township Closes Skate Park for Repairs Again

Moorestown parks and rec director Theresa Miller is searching for solutions after learning the latest repairs could cost around $20,000.

For the second time in as many years, the David Gentile skate park at has been shut down for repairs.

Parks and recreation director Theresa Miller said the park was closed on April 19 after a quarterly inspection revealed major repairs were needed.

“Because it’s a wood structure, and it receives high-impact use, maintenance is an ongoing issue,” she said, ticking off a list of repairs that include replacement of the skating ramp surfaces and repairing 47 vinyl posts.

Miller said part of the problem is also that kids are riding bikes in the park, "and it's not made for that."

The township closed the park back in Dec. 2009 as well and did not reopen it until July 2011, . Miller said it took that long for the repairs to be made because there simply wasn’t money in the budget for them.

The current repairs were quoted at $16,300 at the end of last year, she said. And that doesn’t include labor, which was estimated at approximately $1,800 per day.

Miller—who said she’s already gotten “an awful lot of calls” from non-resident parents whose kids have nowhere to skate—is hoping to avoid another lengthy stoppage by reaching out to local skateboarding entrepreneur Dan McCollister, owner of the and .

Miller said she’ll be meeting with McCollister in the next week to discuss funding strategies, as the business owner is interested in helping the township raise money to repair the skate park—the only skate park in Moorestown now that Black Diamond has been closed.

McCollister did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.

Miller also said she’ll be speaking with Medford recreation director Beth Portocalis, who received a significant grant from the county in the last couple years to knock down Medford’s wooden skate park and replace it with concrete.

According to Miller, township manager Scott Carew has tasked her and the rest of the Recreation Advisory Committee with examining options for the skate park, which range from keeping the status quo and continuing to make repairs as needed, to replacing it with a concrete version.

The skate park was built in 2002. It is named for David Gentile, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a football game in 1979. The park was completed with the help of a $120,000 donation from David’s mother, Joan Gentile. David died in 2001 at the age of 36.

that guy May 04, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Coming from a skateboarder, there is no such thing as a skateboard only design. The only reason bikes are not permitted is for insurance purposes. Stop blaming them for building an outdoor WOOD skatepark. I think Medfords wood park only lasted 10 years and closed down. Moorestown ignored the fact that metal/composite construction was the way to go. For example, williamstowns park, made out of metal and composite, require almost 0 maintenance. I believe that some of their ramps were taken from the old Burlington township skatepark as well. Don't go blaming poor planning on a couple bike riders.
Lynne May 04, 2012 at 04:24 PM
There is a composite material made by Richlite that was developed for skateparks. I don't know how expensive it is, but money spent up front can save a bunch down the road. Also, would security cameras help police the park?
Our Town May 04, 2012 at 06:49 PM
The figures for these repairs continue to astound me. Who comes up with these estimates? As someone who has built dozens of various ramps and structures in my day, not a single one ventured into the tens of thousands range and this includes full vert halfpipes up to 24 feet wide. $20 grand only to need another $16 grand less than a year later? Who's doing the work, the Cinnaminson Sewerage Authority? 'That guy' is correct, there is no difference between a biking or skating structure when it comes to this type of park. The town should accept the fact that for big money, they received a substandard park with the hopes that the skateboarding fad would wear out long before the materials did. Usually you get what you pay for and in many aspects, Moorestown provides tremendous bang for the buck but when it comes to these types of expenditures whether it be a staggering $150-$200K for Zelley park, $4 million for fields, $27 million for, let me borrow the phrase, the Town Mahal, it seems any sense of fiscal relativity is completely lost. Security cameras are an unnecessary further expense. Who will monitor them and what will we hope to capture, a 12 year old kid falling and his handlebar putting a hole in a ramp? For what, so we can charge his parents for the repair? Either repair it correctly with materials that will last or get rid of it but nickle and diming repairs with the hopes that everyone forgets it exists is not a viable option.
chris June 22, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Actually, Williamstown requires LOTs of maintenance, but their maintenance crew has a regular regimen for tackling this. They have welded extra matal bars into the substructure and re-tighten them as needed, as well as replacing sheets of skate-lite when too many holes get punched in em. But many other towns don't. They just blame any damage as "vandalism" (that's really regular wear and tear) as a n excuse to close the park. Truthfully I agree with "Our Town" that last year they too should've ripped out the wood ramps and replace them with concrete like Medford. Though I was happy and thankful it reopened last summer, it still was quite obvious repairs were still needed. Just from riding, a screw got stuck in my wheel, and some of the grind bars on the ramps are still loose. Though towns should step back and use common sense that wood and cheap materials do not equal permanence, the vendors are also to blame for deceiving them into a quick sale. However I still thank Moorestown for not closing the park altogether and they at least attempted to fix the problem, unlike many other towns.
MDG July 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I found this article while searching for word that the park had since re-opened; I'm not thrilled at what I've found. I've been riding BMX for around 13 years now, I live about 45 minutes from Moorestown, and I make the trip often to come ride there. I know a-lot of other non-residents make the trek out to Moorestown and other various skateparks around the NJ area. All the skateparks in my area do not allow bikes. What a horrible feeling to catch wind of a new park, drive up to it and see that it looks perfect, only to see the dreaded 'No Bikes Allowed' sign on the gate. BMX is growing in popularity, just like skating. These sports aren't going away. When I drive by public parks I always see the baseball, football, soccer and basketball areas empty, or very sparsely populated. When I drive by a skatepark, it's ALWAYS packed. Thats not going to change. So here is an idea that may or may have not been thought of before, but how several townships/cities putting together a mutual investment to build/repair/refurbish etc. a skatepark for everyone to enjoy? Money always seems to be a problem, individual townships not having or wanting to spend enough. If you got Moorestown and the surrounding few towns to all pitch in an equal share, full well knowing residents from all those areas will be using the ramps, doesn't that make sense? I work for the government so I'm sure their are all kinds of challenges in something like that, but it's worth a quick look.
John J October 29, 2013 at 10:07 PM
I am saddened to see our City Council decide to tear it down this park. These issues in town Council must have more of a positive result. How much are we going to spend to tear down a positive place for children. This definitely is a place were children can come not only to get exercise but, perhaps stay out of trouble while doing something productive. I really think our town council should reconsider their decision of tearing it down. I will personally help Theresa Miller find a way to raise money, and make the repairs or replacements. I will also personally reach out to General Contractors, that would be happy to donate time if necessary to help keep this park open.

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