Hill SkatePark” was Located at 622 Hollywood
Ave., Cherry Hill, NJ. CHSP was open from 1978 – 1981
and in that short time, the park gained the respect of skateboarders
of all levels, from beginners to pro skaters from around the
world. It was voted many times over as the best skatepark of
the 20th century and has never left the hearts of those fortunate
enough to have skated its perfect transitions. The building
still stands and is being occupied by Keystone Ind., It has
been rumored, perhaps fueled by the hopeful, that under the
floor lies all of the bowls/pools and pipe awaiting what would
be an amazing archeological dig to bring it back to life. Fantasy?
Maybe, but one can dream.
site has been built and fueled by fond memories of the park
forwarded by those who have skated there. It is a forum that
we hope will continue to grow with the help of your stories,
photos and videos. For those who were not fortunate enough to
have skated CHSP you will not understand truly what the world
of skateboarding has lost, but we invite you to revisit this
era with us.
the success of Cherry Hill Skatepark's design is most often
attributed to Wally Hollyday and Duane Bigelow, that claim we
have learned is challenged by the original park owner Bob Hurley.
Two weeks after the opening of the park, Skaterider
interviewed Bob Hurley and Steve Durst.
Hurley, only 25, had cut his teeth in the skatepark
business during his employment with Campo Construction and had
since moved on, beginning his own company, Hurley Enterprises.
Bob was partnered with Steve Durst, and in their
interview, the two would concede that Steve had been "the
leg man in acquiring the property and getting permission and
possibly the financial backing. Bob came in with the theory,
the idea and the actual construction." Originally, they
had planned for an outdoor park but had been rejected by the
township. Being in the right place at the right time, Bob learned
of an available empty warehouse located at 622 Hollywood Ave.
in Cherry Hill, NJ, and immediately wanted to see it. They had
found a solution to the town's concern of unruly children so
near to the Cherry Hill Mall and the Garden State Racetrack
and in a win / win situation, they now had control of the elements
with an indoor park. Instantly it clicked.
During this time, Wally Hollyday had gone from his
hometown of Cherry Hill NJ west to California and hooked up
with the Lakewood Skate Park. Lakewood was having transition
issues so after a little "lesson" from the young Hollyday
and after he had recarved some of the transitions, Lakewood
hired him on to redesign as they built. Wally received some
positive press in one of the skate mags as a result, and according
to him, he was visited in Lakewood by the contractor for CHSP.
The contractor then brought on Duane Bigelow whose past collaberation
with Wally had been successful.
Despite the differences in opinion over who should
receive credit, a common denominator with Wally and Bob is that
both 100% believe the basis for the perfect skatepark lies in
the dirt. As Bob explained it "You can cut a box perfectly
and employ a concrete team that really knows what they're doing,
and come up with the perfect park. If you are paying a concrete
team a hundred dollars a yard you want the pool cut precisely
so you can work with a minimal five inches of concrete."
Enter, Wally Hollyday on the same subject, "I
spent a lot of time shaping the dirt...the more perfect it was
the better chance we had of the concrete being good." And
according to Hollyday, it worked out that way, the concrete
was shot, and he then was the eye for the fresno (blade that
cuts the wall), Bigelow advising his crew "Do whatever
he says. It's his park and his design."
And I guess it is that last statement that sums
up the controversy. After this site's inception, we were contacted
by Mr. Hurley, incensed that he had been left out of the credits
of the park. We did offer an apology, revised the site to include
Mr. Hurley, and invited him to set the story straight from his
perspective. He has not responded to that invitation, so we
are left to piece together the history from articles and interviews
with others that had been affiliated with the park.
Controversy aside, it remains to this day to be
one of the greatest skateparks ever created. With four bowls,
a left and right kidney, a smaller intermediate bowl, and the
infamous Egg Bowl, it has yet to be duplicated and for those
that skated Cherry Hill, it has never been forgotten.
Looking back on the Skaterider interview, I suppose
even then the skater community was beginning to feel the impending
crash of their scene but Hurley and Durst remained optimistic
about their future. In response to a mention of the market decline,
Steve explained he believed the decline was weeding out the
mass produced garbage that had entered the market as it had
become more commercial, but unfortunately, his feeling that
those who had been serious from the beginning, who had the knowledge
and the quality would survive and become stronger than ever
turned out to be untrue.
When Wally was asked how he felt when the park closed,
he answered "I felt like I had been wasting my time."
He had never seen the end coming, yet it came anyway, and the
young designer was pushed to pursue other avenues. "A lot
of those guys just grew up. I guess they went to college or
something.... there are other things besides hanging out at
the skatepark with your friends every day. Maybe they would
come back to it later, but then there was nothing to come back