New look for Lydgate

WAILUA — Caution, work ahead.

County officials announced Monday that Kauai-based Pacific Blue Construction, LLC will begin refurbishing all the structures at Lydgate Beach Park.

The $570,000 project, which includes demolition and rebuilding some of the area’s structures, is expected to be completed by the end of May.

That’s good news for parkgoers who like to visit the Eastside destination but wouldn’t mind seeing an upgrade.

“Some parts I noticed are broken and the roof there is starting to look aged where the bigger kids like to climb,” said Roseangela Vierra, of Wailua Homesteads, visiting the park Monday with her daughter Lilah, 3. “I understand about termites but I hope they only tear down what they need to.”

The scope of work for the Lydgate project includes demolition and reconstruction of the pavilion next to the Kamalani Playground, roof replacement of the lifeguard comfort station, restoration of four small pavilions and reconstruction of three pavilions to replace the ones that were recently demolished.

In addition, many of the comfort stations will be repainted and have new tile installed along with new partitions and Shearwater compliant lighting, structural hardware replacement, ADA upgrades, electrical panel replacement and stainless steel toilet fixtures.

While each comfort station is under construction, portable toilets will be provided, including one that is ADA accessible.

On the south side of the park near the Kamalani Kai Bridge and Decks that were built in 2001, Sarah Vaughn, of Lihue, was visiting with friends on her day off near the other children’s play area and walk bridge. She enjoys bringing her children to the park and said her brother and other family bring their children here as well.

“We do like it here,” Vaughn said. “It’s not like other parks. Its kind of looking old but its not as bad as other places.”

Vaughn’s own children like the slides and she said that a rebuild should include more swing sets and things for different ages groups.

“An upgrade is fine but don’t take it away,” she said, adding that the park could go for more trash cans so people don’t have to pick up the overflow from the existing trash cans.

Upgrades to the park have been on the county’s radar for a while.

During his inaugural speech titled Holo Holo 2020, Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. spoke about his vision for Kauai in the year 2020, which included creating super parks at Lydgate and Poipu Beach parks with others to follow.

“We are really focusing on upgrading the buildings, making them more energy efficient, able to withstand harsh elements, and aesthetically pleasing as well,” said Carvalho in a press release. “After we complete this initiative, we plan to move on to the other beach parks.”

Not everything about the park needs overhauls, others said. Shine Finley said the wooden Kamalani playground is like a tree house and shouldn’t be replaced with something modern or new. She said that many children and adults worked hard on the design, lettering and Hawaiian history elements of the playground years ago.

“A lot of love went into building this,” Finley said. “This structure is awesome.”

According to the Friends of Kamalani and Lygate Park website, more than 7,000 volunteers helped build Kamalani Playground in 1994. It features a volcano slide and ocean-themed ceramic, mosaics and Hawaiian wood carvings made by Kauai children.

The children that were a part of this are all grown now, Finley said, but they come here and tell their own children this is what they did when they were little. The history is here and as much of it should be preserved as possible, Finley said.

“It’s nice for the kids but for parents too. I like going through this with Ya-Ya and chasing her. It’s engaging,” Finley said.

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