POIPU — When the trio of Artistic License wrapped up its final song on stage, Dave Greenberg reminded the audience why they were all gathered at Kauai Christian Fellowship on Sunday afternoon.
As much as he enjoyed playing with band members Terra Jean Otto and John Gilleran, it wasn’t about the music. At least not on this day.
“How about that gymnasium up there?” he said enthusiastically. “That’s what it’s all about today.”
Hundreds of kids and adults turned out for the grand opening of KCF’s $2 million, 14,000-square-foot Southside Sports Center. It was quite the shindig with games, food, a car show, prizes, live music and, of course, the unveiling of the long-awaited sports center.
It will be home to a variety of activities, including basketball,volleyball, pickleball, hula classes and indoor soccer. There’s also a CrossFit area that will be free for kids. Work is nearly complete, but for a moveable fence around the perimeter of the gym, carpeting for the youth room and a few other details.
Sarina Franklin brought daughters, Madison Grace and Peighton to the event and watched with pride as Madison gave a ball a good kick that sent it slowly rolling on the shiny new gym floor.
“This is pretty amazing,” Sarina Franklin said.
She liked the concept that it would be an open air gym and expect it to attract plenty of families and friends.
“When the basketball court is set up, that will be great,” she said.
Koloa resident Eric Lazar was also sure the new sports center would be heavily used.
“Don’t we all like to play?” he said. “The more places to play, the better.”
As KCF Pastor Rick Bundschuh made his way through the spirited crowd, he stopped often to exchange greetings and chat with folks.
“We need you in one of those,” he said to a young man sitting on a bench watching a rousing game of bubble ball soccer.
Bundschuh said it was wonderful to see the project so well received by the community. Kauai Christian Fellowship believes that the sports center can help people stay active and feel better physically, but also provide benefits in teamwork, sportsmanship and socially, too.
“It’s good for the human body and the soul,” he said.
KCF wants to be open to the community in many ways, which includes Sunday services, various ministries for adults and youth, outreach programs and now, the Southside Sports Center. While the church won’t push its beliefs on gym users, it will share with them if given an opportunity.
“We’re hoping this makes people aware there’s a spiritual facet in their life that needs to be exercised, as well as all the physical stuff they’re doing,” he said.
South Shore resident Lynn Mira attended the grand opening with husband Tim. They wanted to check it out and liked that it offered so many activities under one roof and said it was sure to be a popular gathering point.
“I think this is a great community outreach,” she said.
Marlene Hawthorne and Melanie Hartshorn were busy serving up baked potatoes smothered in an array of topping. They were two of a small army of volunteers on hand to make sure things went well and guests enjoyed themselves. Both were smiling and delighted to be part of the grand opening celebration.
“What I love about this church is that when the call goes out for volunteers, there’s always a great response,” Hartshorn said.
Hawthorne said the sports center was “fabulous.”
“It’s going to bring the community in,” she said.