LIHUE — If Laraine Moriguchi of the Kapaia Foundation has her way, repairs and restoration of the historic Kapaia swinging bridge will be done by the summer of 2018.
Moriguchi was joined by other members of the Kapaia Foundation board on Tuesday to accept a county Office of Economic Development grant for $231,000 from Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Acting County Engineer Lyle Tabata.
“The funds are here,” Moriguchi said. “Now, we can start work on repairing and restoring the historic Kapaia swinging bridge. Our goal is to accomplish a task in one year that the county could not do in 11 years. We look forward to completing a challenge which will benefit our entire community.”
On March 22, the Kauai County Council unanimously voted to accept the administration’s resolution to transfer ownership of Kapaia swinging bridge to the Kapaia Foundation, reported the Kapaia Foundation newsletter. The county grant award was also secured.
Ron Agor of Agor Jehn Architects has been named the project manager, and will be present at a meeting today starting at 4:30 p.m. at the end of Laukini Road in Kapaia, at the offices of the Kapaia Foundation.
“Ron has asked for volunteers,” Moriguchi said. “Anyone interested in helping with the repair and rebuild of the bridge is welcome to attend the meeting.”
The bridge, inaugurated in 1948, served plantation workers who lived in the area. The county built the bridge, but the land surrounding it belonged to Grove Farm, which has sold most of the property to private landowners.
“When I was 6 years old, we would run across that bridge,” said Cathy Simao, who used to live in Hanamaulu after the closing of the Ahukini housing. “We would go to Naganuma Store, the site of the current Kapaia Foundation office, and to the Lihue Hongwanji. Naganuma Store had a lot of things, but I remember getting the bag of big li hing mui for just five cents.”