Parks Master Plan on final stretch

LIHUE — Marine biologist Katherine Muzik has a dream of the Kapaa Swimming Pool becoming a coral garden.

“That’s a plan people could get behind,” Sally Anson said Tuesday night at Kapaa Middle School, during the first of five meetings on the Draft Kauai Parks & Recreation Master Plan. “It’s better than turning it into a parking lot.”

Muzik made her comment after learning the oceanfront swimming pool would, under the plan’s draft version, be relocated to the expanded Kapaa new park recreational complex.

Glenn Kimura of planning consultant Kimura International said this new series of meetings, which will end Aug. 16, is to reveal responses when residents were surveyed on the county’s inventory of parks.

A total of 459 respondents replied to the survey questions, providing the seeds for the draft master plan.

The current round of meetings is to collect further input for crafting the final version of the parks master plan that will cover the county’s 80 parks and recreational facilities for the next 20 years.

Rayne Regush, speaking at the Kapaa meeting, had a desire for open space free of recreational fields or facilities.

This was echoed by Robin Lopez at the Koloa meeting Thursday.

“When I go to Lihue, I have a list of things to do, and when I’m done, I sometimes want to just pick up lunch and enjoy it under a tree,” Lopez said. “But we can’t find any. We need mature trees so we can just sprawl out on grass.”

Kimura said there are two regional parks where sports are featured, one at Vidinha Stadium and the other in Waimea, where a sports complex is being planned.

He said a third area, the Ahukini Coastal Park, is being acquired by the county and could be developed within the next six years, with picnic facilities and a continuation of the multi-use path.

Kimura also pointed out a gateball facility being planned for Weliweli Park in Poipu as well as for several other parks.

“I’m glad to hear there are plans for senior citizens,” Lopez said. “In a short time, there will be a lot of seniors here.”

Gregg Pacilio, a physical therapist at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, was also glad to hear of accommodations for the elderly.

“I just want to express my appreciation for all the work you people put into coming up with the master plan for parks,” Pacilio said. “I get excited whenever I hear ‘skate park,’ and I’m glad to see one planned for Hanapepe.”

Draft Master Plan author Nancy Nishikawa said during the Hanalei meeting Wednesday that residents expressed concern about re-designing the pavilion at the Hanalei Beach Park to a more “see-through” design as a deterrent to crime.

Residents also talked about relocating the pavilion to allow for a more “see-through” corridor to the ocean.

The next meetings will be at Waimea Neighborhood Center on Aug. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.; and in Lihue at the Moikeha Conference Rooms 2A/2B on Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Comments on the draft master plan can be delivered at any of the meetings, dropped off at the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation offices in the Moikeha Building, mailed to Glenn Kimura, Kimura International, Inc., 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814, or filled out by visiting www.kauaiparks.com.

Copies of the draft are available at www.kauaiparks.com or at any public library on Kauai.

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