Kalena Park improvements in works

LIHUE — The county Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with Kauai Beer Company to spruce up Kalena Park.

The brewery’s plans to improve the park, less than a block from their location on Rice Street, started about a year ago when the company’s non-profit, Kauai Cares, was formed.

The idea was further publicized in February during a Lihue Business Association meeting, where Lenny Rapozo, director of the county Parks and Recreation Department, and Larry Feinstein, Kauai Cares board member, discussed the idea.

During that meeting, improvements were discussed, like fixing up the basketball court and playground, adding extra sitting areas and installing an exercise circuit.

The project is in the early stages of the planning and design phase, and there’s no timeline set yet.

“Our partners at Kauai Beer Company provided input for the proposed updates, which will then be brought to the community for their review and input,” Rapozo said.

Kauai Beer Company doesn’t intend to take over the management of the county park adjacent to the Lihue fire station. Rather, the company wants to help the county make improvements by enlisting the help of other businesses.

The hope is that other private businesses will join as sponsors and help fund park improvements, and individuals will donate to the cause.

“The county is looking forward to our continued partnership with Kauai Beer Company and our neighboring residents and businesses on the potential park improvements, which intends to heighten the recreational experience for our park users,” Rapozo said.

KBC started Kauai Cares about a year ago. At the same time, the county was in the process of Rice Street revitalization efforts, with help from a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.

Earlier this year, the Rice Street logo, “In the Heart of Kauai,” was released. It represents the history of Lihue as a plantation town, and county officials hope it will promote Rice Street as a business district.

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