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Township Plans to Take Out Wesley Bishop Skate Park

'It's had its shelf life,' said recreation director Theresa Miller, explaining that repairs have gotten too costly for the township to keep up.

The township plans to demolish and remove the David Gentile skate park at Wesley Bishop. Credit: Rob Scott
The township plans to demolish and remove the David Gentile skate park at Wesley Bishop. Credit: Rob Scott
After struggling the last few years to keep up with repairs, the township plans to demolish the David Gentile skate park at Wesley Bishop Park.

Recreation director Theresa Miller said the park, which was built in 2002, has been closed for some time due to its condition (though skateboarders have frequently ignored signs and used the park anyway). She explained the wood at the park is rotted to the point where repairs are no longer an option, and replacement is too costly.

"It's old. You just can't keep fixing it," she said. "It's rotted ... It's wear and tear. It's had its shelf life."

Town council approved a $413,000 bond ordinance Monday for projects at Wesley Bishop and Memorial Field. Part of that money will be used to remove the skate park, leaving Moorestown with no skate parks after the removal last year of the Black Diamond skate park at the Moorestown Mall (which was taken out to make way for the new Regal Cinemas theater).

Miller said the recreation department reached out to the local skateboarding community to inform them of the demolition, but got little response.

She said there are no plans to replace the park presently, but added that the Recreation Advisory Committee would meet in September and will be "kicking some ideas around."

Miller pointed out that Medford that when Medford put in a concrete skate park a couple years ago, it cost approximately $250,000.

The skate park at Wesley Bishop was 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.

Council approved several other bond ordinances (on first reading) Monday for roughly $4 million worth of capital projects:
  • The other half of the $413,000 recreation bond will be used to improve the track at Memorial Field. Miller said she applied for a $250,000 county grant to fund the project, but hasn't been informed yet whether it was approved. She was unsure whether the township would go through with the project if it did not receive the grant.
  • $1.5 million for a road resurfacing program. Financial officer Tom Merchel said the township hasn't undertaken a major road resurfacing project since 2010. The township engineer will perform a study of the township roads in need of repair and provide a long-term plan to council in the near future.
  • $855,000 for new Public Works vehicles and equipment. Again, Merchel said it's been a few years since the township purchased new equipment for Public Works. In some cases, "we're replacing some really old stuff," he said.
  • $285,000 for the repair of various dams at Strawbridge Lake.
  • $1.1 million for water and sewer utility improvements.
Council will hold a public hearing at its next regular meeting Sept. 9 to formally adopt the bond ordinances.
Jerry A August 21, 2013 at 01:31 PM
www.imls.gov/imls_2010_public_library_survey_results_announced. aspx
Bill August 21, 2013 at 03:44 PM
@Jerry - the survey ended 3 years ago. And at that time NJ trends were going down. But as was asked above. What are the numbers for Moorestowns library? I'd guess not good enough to justify millions for a new building. Give it another 10-15 years and it will be nothing but a storage area for dusty old books that people read electronic versions of. Waste of money IMO.
Mary Nelson August 21, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Here's the library strategic plan and space assessment. Read for yourselves. http://www.moorestown.lib.nj.us/strategicplan.pdf http://www.moorestown.lib.nj.us/spaceanalysis.pdf Seems the Library Board and consultants wanted a more modern library with more access to computers and a better atmosphere. Can't find actual usage stats (yet) but hope to get them soon. Overall, I think this entire building is a God-awful waste of money (and crazy big - have you driven by it recently??!) But even if you thought the goals in the strategic plan were worthwhile, you'd be disappointed to know the "media center" part of the new library is not included in the current plan. (Just look at the floor plan on the Twp website). All we are getting is book stacks, tables a cafe (and heated floors!) So, basically, we are building a Borders on 2nd Street. Oh yeah, Borders is going out of business.
Jim August 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM
This goes to a bigger issue with our Parks & Recreation Department. Our parks and facilities are unkept and in disrepair. Everything has a short shelf-life if it's not maintained. The few success stories related to parks and rec stem from private initiatives i.e. Zelly, the new pocket park, the various sports leagues in town... We should expect more.
Bill August 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM
The library strategic plan says it all. More focus towards electronic media in the future. Oh, and a cafe for leisure activities. As Mary noted above. We're building a Borders book Store that warehouses old books. PS -kids learn how to use computers at school. And I'd dare say most of them (by the 4th to 5th grade) can probably navigate around one better then your average librarian.
Tom August 22, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Heated floors for books but a municipal parking lot that supports real businesses full of weeds, debris and disrepair for citizens. Any chance some gracious volunteers will step in and fix the parking lot since the town officials appear more concerned with their office suites than our facilities.
Pete August 22, 2013 at 04:31 PM
@Mary Nelson @mtwnres: The Plan that you refer to was written in 2007 during the time library mgmt wanted to spend $4.7 million to make the building the “social center of the town” – a real joke. Thankfully the contract had some legal issues and was cancelled. I think the current mgmt is much more in tune with reality and facilitating the new bldg with less paper and more electronic media capability and material.
dellis5470 August 27, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Our Town..... FYI DGS was designed by the skaters of M'town along with one of the best skate park designers in the country, NOT " city planners "
C R A August 29, 2013 at 03:33 PM
As I remember, the park closed after 2009, was repaired and reopened in Summer 2011, only to close again 6-9 months later. $12K was spent for repairs, but the effects were hardly notices, i'm sorry to say. I agree with "Our town" that this park, with a layout that trumps that of most other parks in South Jersey, should've been built with concrete. Then it would've only seen a small fraction of the experienced maintenance issues and would undoubtedly remain a thriving park to this day. The park, even after reopening, was still in sub-par condition. Case in point: A loose screw got stuck in my skateboard wheel, the grind bars were loose, the surfacing on the halfpipe was warped, among other things. So my opinion is it was a poor investment, considering that the wooden substructure was the most important problem. We skaters, of course wanted to help repair it, and township officials considered it, but I know the MEL-JIF insurance would frown upon that. However, I also wish to thank the township for keeping it open to us as long as they have.
Bella Pelosi August 29, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Did anyone even ask how much it would cost to fix the skate park? $30 million for town hall but no money for kids to get outside and have fun?
Public Works employee September 04, 2013 at 04:53 PM
And now these politicians have the nerve to try and privatize sanitation. Guess they're going to hook up one of their buddies with the contract.
Trunks and Tusks September 04, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Where are you coming up with that? Didn't hear that at the school board meeting or council either? Even Oscar the Grouch would put up with wild thoughts like that.
Public Works employee September 04, 2013 at 07:32 PM
The Towns council came up with that. They even snuck a bid in the Burlington County Times today.
Trunks and Tusks September 04, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Was this mentioned at a budget meeting or council meeting? Why would they want to privatize the trash collection? Can't believe it really costs that much? Anyone confirm this?
travel O'city September 04, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Confirmed-didn't tell trash collection crews until it was in the Burlington County times today-
Public Works employee September 04, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Yes. It was confirmed by Township Manager Scott Carew. 856-235-0912. I left a message telling him I would be very upset if they went through with it. I have lived in a town with private pick up and it was a horrible experience. I like having our trash picked up by in house guys that grew up in town.
Trunks and Tusks September 04, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Interesting but, didn't see in burlco times, didn't see it on any town council agenda. Maybe they will discuss this at the next council meeting? Maybe this is a it up for discussion towards the next budget cycle to cut the trash collectors ?
travel O'city September 04, 2013 at 11:26 PM
In legal ad section. Trying to confirm IT employee returning. IT was outsourced now returning to previous IT employee. Thought outsourcing was so much cheaper. If not why is trash collection being outsourced?
travel O'city September 04, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Any confirmation on this Jonathan?
travel O'city September 04, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Can the patch provide the numbers on trash collection and IT so taxpayers can decide?
travel O'city September 04, 2013 at 11:32 PM
training, travel and bennies for IT and trash collection vs outsourcing-
travel O'city September 05, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Heard this am over coffee-township would still have to pay tipping/disposal fees-can taxpayers be given proof that all the trash in private trucks will be from Moorestown? or will our taxdollars be paying for trash from other townships? Can the patch check on these numbers? The coffee crowd asked about posting the cost of sending the IT employee to Las Vegas for training? How many employees are taxpayers sending out of state for training and the cost to the taxpayer? Coffee minds want to know.
Bella Pelosi September 05, 2013 at 06:30 AM
I wonder what other summer surprises this town council has in store for us. NOTICE TO BIDDERS TOWNSHIP OF MOORESTOWN FOR SOLID WASTE COLLECTION SERVICES Notice is hereby given that sealed bids will be received by the Township of Moorestown, for SOLID WASTE COLLECTION SERVICES. Bids will be opened and read in public at the Township of Moorestown Present Municipal Building, 2 Executive Drive, Suite 9A, Moorestown, NJ 08057 on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. prevailing time. Services to be provided are solid waste collection and disposal services for the residents of the Township of Moorestown. The Township assumes no responsibility for the loss or non-delivery of any bid sent to it prior to the bid opening. Specifications and forms for bidding the proposed work were prepared by the Township of Moorestown and are on file with the Township Clerk, Township of Moorestown Present Municipal Building, 2 Executive Drive, Suite 9A, Moorestown, NJ 08057, and may be inspected by prospective bidders during business hours starting September 5, 2013 (Monday through Friday from 8:30AM-4:30PM). Bids must be made on the standard proposal forms in the manner designated therein and required by the specifications. Bidders shall submit one (1) original of the bid addressed to the Township Clerk, Township of Moorestown and enclosed in a sealed envelope bearing the name and address of the bidder and marked plainly on the outside of the envelope 'Bid for the Collection of Solid Waste.' A non-mandatory Pre-bid conference will be held on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in the Moorestown Township Present Municipal Building Conference Room, 2 Executive Drive, Suite 9A, Moorestown, NJ 08057. All bids must be accompanied by a non-collusion affidavit and either a certified check, cashier's check or a bid bond, issued by a surety licensed or authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey, payable to the Township of Moorestown, in an amount not less than ten percent (10%) of the amount bid, not to exceed $20,000, as well as a Consent of Surety binding the surety to furnish performance and payment bonds as required in the Instructions to Bidders, together with all documents required in the bid package. Also, at the time of submission of the bid, Bidders must present a copy of their New Jersey Business Registration Certificate. The standard proposal forms and non-collusion affidavit are attached to the specifications available from the Township Clerk. Any references to brand names in the specifications mean brand name or equivalent. The Bidder's attention is directed to P.L. 1977, Chapter 33, which relates to the requirement for a bidder to submit a list of names and address of certain stockholders. Bidders are required to comply with N.J.S.A. 10:5-31 et seq. (P.L. 1975, c. 127), N.J.A.C. 17:27 setting forth Affirmative Action requirements, Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, (42 U.S.C. S121 01 et seq), New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission Laws pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20-13 (P.L. 2005, c. 271, s.3) and all other statutory requirements as set forth in the Instructions to Bidders. The Township Council reserves the right to reject any or all bids, to waive any immaterial defect or informality or to accept a bid, which in its judgment and discretion, best serves the interest of the Township. No bid may be withdrawn for a period of sixty (60) days after the date set for the opening of the bids. All proposals and accompanying documents, as well as bonds and other Contract Documents are subject to review by the Township Attorney to ensure compliance with New Jersey laws and regulations. PATRICIA L. HUNT, RMC Township Clerk Adv. Fee: $78.66 BCT: September 4, 2013 Aff. Chg: $20.00
Trunks and Tusks September 05, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Interesting how the patch hasn't made any remarks about this? Isn't privatizing trash pickup a big deal, a big story? How can this action be reversed? Cancel the bids? Reject all bids? Who knew about this? Patch?
Bella Pelosi September 05, 2013 at 07:40 AM
No one knows because of transparency I take it.
Public Works employee September 05, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I guess this is how the new council conducts business.
East Side Resident September 11, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Fire the Rec director and save 80 G`s You can use that to refurbis the skate park.
Trunks and Tusks September 11, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Hey east side, that's low to attack the rec director. In fact kudos to her and Councilman Phil Garwood for making the rec programs a success for our towns kids and citizens.
Jim September 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Trunks, are you kidding me? Have you been by our parks lately? Unkept landscaping, disgusting restrooms, broken equipment... Not to mention the Rec's programming, or lack thereof. While I'm at it, can they stop using the phrase "the rec is sponsoring..." in their press releases? When you pay taxes AND charge a fee the program is not being 'sponsored'.
Tom September 12, 2013 at 07:34 AM
Has anyone parked in the municipal lot recently? The lot is always full yet the conditions are deplorable with weeds everywhere while just a few short feet away, our tax dollars are hard at work making our government offices pretty. When does the taxpayer come first?

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