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.