ANAHOLA — Organizers of the free community gym in Anahola are getting their ducks in a row after being kicked out of their space in an old church because they didn’t have proper permits.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re out of the space forever.
“We’re working on permits and for now we’re working out at my house,” said Bronson Lovell on Monday morning.
The gym opened in September with community members from the Anahola area gathering for CrossFit workouts in the place once known as Camp Faith.
Located at the end of a dirt road near the beach, the place was a magnet for drugs and alcohol before Lovell decided to “clean house” as he calls it. That meant disbanding the squatters, cleaning up trash and debris from around and inside the building and then stocking it with exercise equipment — turning it into a place for anyone on Kauai to catch a workout instead of a buzz.
But Friday the gym had to shut down at the direction of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands because organizers jumped over steps in the process. They need to receive a lease, license or right of entry from DHHL.
The CrossFit gym was installed prematurely without a recorded beneficiary consultation from the community,” said DHHL spokesman Cedric Duarte. “While there has been an outcry of public support the gym, there is a process in place for all beneficiaries to share their thoughts.”
The correct way to navigate the process is to apply with DHHL and then wait for a public beneficiary consultation where data is collected about the situation and then DHHL staffmembers meet with stakeholders.
This beneficiary consultation results are then brought to the Hawaiian Homes Commission for their review and approval in a public Hawaiian Homes Commission meeting.
“This process allows for all DHHL beneficiaries the opportunity to have their voice heard,” Duarte said.
If approved, the DHHL could then issue a lease, license or right of entry to the operators to then move back into the old church and resume activities.
Operators haven’t received any fines from DHHL.
For Lovell and the rest of the crew working to establish the community gym, the next step is to finish moving their equipment off of the property. That will allow DHHL to accept an application they’ve already submitted and will kick off the process again.
“We’re moving forward and working with them,” Lovell said. “And we’re still working out.”
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org