Dog park could face closure

LIHUE — Councilman Ross Kagawa wants to talk dogs and trees when the Kauai County Council meets in committee Wednesday.

A maintenance issue on the agenda is cleaning up the dog feces at Happy Dog Playground in Wailua Homesteads.

“This was raised by workers who have complained about mowing over dog poop, which flies in their face and on their body,” Kagawa said Monday.

With dog feces not properly taken care of, workers have raised health concerns, Kagawa said.

“When we opened the park about four years ago, we hoped there would be cooperation with the county and dog owners, but only the county is doing their part,” Kagawa said.

He believes it is time for the council to take action. On Wednesday, he expects to discuss a deadline for dog owners to clean up their pet’s feces. If the deadline comes, and the park continues to be dirty, the park could close, he said.

“I have a dog myself, and I understand cleaning up after them isn’t fun or convenient, but people need to be responsible,” he said.

He requested that Lenny Rapozo, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, be present at Wednesday’s meeting to be part of the discussion.

The chair of the public works and parks and recreation committee is also requesting the presence of Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer, to discuss street maintenance concerns around county buildings, specifically at the Ka Hale Makai O Kauai building, which is home to the Kauai Police Department, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and the Kauai Civil Defense Agency.

That area is of particular interest, he said, because trees that were part of a road beautification project seven years ago are causing the infrastructure to fall into disrepair.

“When you drive there, you see the tree roots have lifted up the road and sidewalk,” he said.

Kagawa said he wants to know if the trees planted there are the same ones planted on Hardy Street, when that road underwent a $7.9 million reconstruction last year.

“I want to know who’s in charge of those decisions because it shouldn’t be happening,” Kagawa said. “What’s going to happen if the trees and roots get bigger.”

Tree planting methods have improved since the Ka Hale Makai 0 Kauai building was constructed in 2002, Tabata said.

“For the Hardy Street project, the trees were selected based on size and rooting structure that are appropriate for the space and environment. Root barriers were installed adjacent to the pavement edges that direct growth downward instead of at the surface,” he said. “In addition, deep-water bubblers for irrigation were installed that encourage the roots to grow downward.”

Kagawa requested Tabata to be present at Wednesday’s meeting to address questions such as who is responsible for landscape design and planting trees, what can be done to address the safety hazards around the Ka Hale Makai O Kauai building and if the same thing may happen to Hardy Street.

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