WAIMEA — Stephen Spears, executive director of Kauai Habitat for Humanity, was busy unloading gold-painted shovels Wednesday at the Waimea Huakai Subdivision between the Waimea Athletic Field and the West Kauai Technology &Visitors Center.
About a hundred people collected at the site for a blessing ceremony coordinated by Kaiwa Construction to prepare the land where 67 units of homeownership and affordable rentals will rise. The project, the Waimea Huakai Housing Development, is a partnership with Kauai Habitat for Humanity, the Ahe Group and the County of Kauai.
“Today we break ground not only on what will become homes to many, but also by working together to transform empty lots, patches of dirt, into places where families can grow, where children can dream big, and parents can cultivate lasting change,” said Leona Sa McDermott, habitat board president, in a message delivered by Spears.
Having a stable home and an affordable place to live is a critical part of being successful in life, relayed Gov. David Ige through Carrice Gardner, his Kauai liaison.
“This is exactly the kind of project we need — 35 multi-family rentals that are LEED platinum C compliant, and 32 single-family, for-sale units,” Gardner said. “Waimea Huakai is an excellent example of partnering with the private sector and leveraging limited state funds to increase the inventory of affordable housing and rentals in the state. Today’s blessing ceremony offers hope to Kauai’s hard-working families.”
Spears said the Waimea Huakai project is a successful experiment in cooperation between nonprofits, for-profit companies, community support and the government.
Kikiaola Land Company, working with Kauai Habitat, concluded the purchase of 6.5 acres after both parties shared their visions, interests and goals until a common interest was found.
“This has been a big week for Waimea (and the Westside),” said Jill Faye-Papworth. “We just had the sale of 400-plus acres of land to the county and, today, we bless the Huakai project for affordable homes for the Westside families. But we’re still a frontier.”
Spears said after reviewing development plans for an initial 42, affordable, homeownership lots, the plans evolved into the current 67 units that include both homeownership and rentals.
A connection from Honolulu Habitat for Humanity and former housing director Kamuela Cobb-Adams helped create the partnership with the Ahe Group.
“Together, we are embarking on a journey to provide 32 affordable, self-help homes, and 35 affordable rentals, that will be here for many years to come,” Spears said. “Congratulations, and mahalo to all our partners and community supporters. This is just the beginning.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.