The $100-million ‘Parks Alive 2025’ initiative includes funding for a public skate park that could be located at Cooper River Park. Plans are preliminary, but interest is high.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 29, 2022
For a brief period of time in the 1980s, Cherry Hill was one of the foremost skateboarding destinations in the country.
The short-lived Cherry Hill Skate Park was a labor of love, if not commercial success.
Privately built—largely by teen labor—and closed before it could enjoy the peak of extreme sports culture in the 1990s, the park was nonetheless a persistent memory in the formative years of many early skaters from South Jersey.
In the decades since, skate enthusiasts from throughout the region have lobbied for its return, only to encounter significant hurdles ranging from land acquisition to legal concerns to financing challenges.
But now, local and county government officials say plans are in the works that could create a public skate park in Cherry Hill.
Although the project is still in its conceptual phase, Camden County Commissioner Jeff Nash, liaison to the county parks department, said that funding to construct it is included within its $100-million “Parks Alive 2025” greenspace reinvestment package.
Preliminary plans would situate the skate park at the site of the former Parkway Golf miniature golf course on North Park Drive in Cherry Hill, where the county has held its Winter Fest ice skating events in prior years.
However, Nash said there’s a long way to go before anything is finalized, and cited a need to build consensus among stakeholders including the Cherry Hill township government, Hilton DoubleTree hotel, and others.
Nonetheless, Cherry Hill Mayor Susan Shin Angulo complimented county officials on the work that has been done to this point on the project.
“I commend our commissioners for their dedication to our county park system,” Shin Angulo said. “They listen to the community’s thoughts and ideas when it comes to programs, facilities and amenities. It’s a win for everyone when we work with the community to meet their needs and help improve their quality of life.”
For local skateboard enthusiasts like Kevin Donahue, who helped build the original Cherry Hill Skate Park as a teenager, and who skated by Parkway Golf to get there from his Haddon Township home, the prospect of opening a new skate park in the township feels like “things coming full circle.
“There’s still a lot of us old guys that are skating,” Donahue said.
“It would be a great use of a historically under-utilized area of the park.”
Donahue also believes that a skate park is a great community project because the sport is an inclusive one that invites participation from people who aren’t team-sport athletes.
“Not everybody can play basketball, football, soccer; the big things that are celebrated,” he said.
A skate park is a place “where any kid can go, and it will be designed purposely to be safe.”
The process to bring the project to life will likely take months, if not years, of additional planning to deliver. For those who’ve waited decades to return a skate park to South Jersey, what’s a little while longer?
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