Material leftover from the building of the Kamalani Kai bridge and pavilion will be put to good use, that being some sort of structure in support of a group-camping area under construction at Lydgate Park.
Architect-on-loan Bob Leathers is scheduled to arrive on Kaua’i Thursday, and a public meeting to solicit input about design and location of the new structure is set for noon this Saturday, Jan. 25, at the bridge pavilion area, said Tim Bynum.
The meeting will follow another Kamalani Kai work day, set for 8 a.m. to noon, where the structure will be painted, and wood sealant applied, said Bynum, coordinator of the Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park.
A light lunch and refreshments will be served to those volunteering to apply paint and sealant.
The site of the proposed group-camping area will be visited during the meeting, and community input is again being sought as to location and design of some structure that will likely be similar to the pavilions that exist at Lydgate Park in Wailua now.
A grant from the McInerny Foundation means funds have been secured to build the group-camping-area pavilion, said Bynum. Leathers has essentially donated his time and talents to design the pavilion, Bynum added.
A flurry of activity is happening at Lydgate Park, the result of the release of $3 million in federal funding for improvements including a two-mile bike, jogging and walking path; maintenance shed; restrooms; and other improvements.
The master plan for the entire Lydgate Park area has been completed, and if a grant is obtained from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the planned improvements can be completed without much need for Kaua’i taxpayer donations through the County of Kauai.
Members of the County Council Thursday are expected to discuss the filing of a grant application from the county to the foundation.
“The community made a master plan for the park, and we funded three-quarters of that, over $4 million, including our in-kind support,” Bynum said.
“So a lot of those improvements that are happening now – the bike path, maintenance shed, camping facility – are all funded, it’s going in, it’s really quite exciting,” he added.
“If we were successful in this Weinberg grant, we would complete the entire master plan. If not, we’re still $800,000 short of completing every aspect of that master plan,” he said.
“When we built the bridge, they (the federal government) certified something like $675,000 of in-kind donations,” as federal funds come with requirements that a percentage of the grant amount be matched by state or local contributions.
“Our match was that sweat equity, all of the work that people on Kaua’i put in. All those improvements are not costing the County of Kauai or the people of Kaua’i anything,” he said.
“There are other improvements that the county has helped fund,” he noted. “We’re like four-fifths of the way home” on improvements in the master plan.
“To many of us, this isn’t really a park project. It’s a community empowerment project,” said Bynum, “that the process of asking kids their ideas, and making them feel supported, and the community’s involvement in the park, teaches positive lessons and empowers a community.
“It lets kids know that they’re wanted and needed, and teaches them about respect for public places. The process has brought a lot of community groups together, and created ties in the community that have lasted,” said Bynum.
“This is a wonderful process that’s happened for the community, that’s empowered women and children, taught valuable lessons, and in the process we got this nice facility that will help support particularly low-income people that don’t have the same recreational opportunities that people with high income have,” he continued.
“This process was so exciting. We think that’s a healthy process for the community,” he said. “And we think that bringing people together in consensus and working together and showing the power of our collective group is a really inspiring thing for an individual in that group.
“And we’re going to keep doing that.”
For more information, please call Bynum, 822-1652.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:email@example.com or 245-3681 (ext. 224).