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A face-lift for the Kapa‘a Skatepark

LIHU‘E — A project to revamp the current Kapa‘a Skatepark has been funded by the county through a $250,000 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant.

With the help of a selected panel of volunteers, the county selected and awarded the nonprofit Na Lei Wili Area Health Education Center (NLW-AHEC) these federal funds to help with construction expenses for the Kaua‘i Skatepark Resurfacing Project.

The nonprofit, founded in 1997, was created on Kaua‘i and O‘ahu to improve the health of the communities in need by growing their own health care workers by educating the youth and health care students about the needs of underserved communities.

Executive Director Fran Becker said her organization is grateful and excited for the opportunity to join with a team of inspired and passionate skateboard enthusiasts as partners for bringing health and wellness to the community through this collaborative project.

“The timing of this grant was a great opportunity for NLW-AHEC to partner with the Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation for making a difference in the lives of youth and families who were not able to go to the skatepark when the stay-at-home orders were established for (the county) due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Becker said.

According to Becker, when concerns of youth suicide, domestic violence, and mental health were on the rise, the group of partners really saw that this could bring great benefit to the community.

The vision of Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation is to develop a network of public skate parks of various sizes and designs throughout Kaua‘i County, Becker said.

“NLW-AHEC is the fiscal sponsor for this grant and in partnership with the Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation, will be coordinating various project management and fundraising efforts,” said Becker. “Funding will be used to pay for the construction costs associated with resurfacing the Kapa‘a Skatepark from asphalt to concrete and various administrative costs.”

According to the County of Kaua­‘i, the skate park project must be completed by the end of the year. The intention is that the skatepark is reopened shortly after work is completed on Dec. 30. After that date, the federal CARES Act funds will be gone.

Becker said besides teaming upwith Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation, NLW-AHEC also partnered up with other community business owners and individuals. The redesign will be led by the Department of Parks and Recreation and funded through the county. The department will handle the process for conceptual design, plans, and permitting.

“The team advisors, who represent every town from Ha‘ena to Kekaha, spent the latter part of 2019 evaluating all 67 of (county-owned) public parks for their appropriateness to house a skate park and selected the Kapa‘a location for the first redevelopment,” said Becker.

Lead Advoate Darin DePasquale of Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation said his team evaluated the county locations to see if they can create a community park where families and skate enthusiasts can enjoy a healthy activity together.

“It’s beautiful that so many individuals are sharing their skillsets to create such a worthwhile project,” said DePasquale. “We’re all working together to give kids a place to be kids and build our community.”

The various construction work includes earthwork, formwork, coping, shotcrete, and concrete.

“We anticipate that the subcontracted general contractor will hire the appropriate workers,” said Becker.

Becker said besides the construction, she has a team of 30 volunteers (and growing) working on the other fundraising activities for Phase II of the project. The group projects a proposal and bidding process to kick up in September.

Becker said the construction phase is currently projected to begin mid-October with a hard end date of Dec. 30 for a ribbon/lei ceremony and skating.

The leadership team for this project includes DePasquale; Seth Womble, Youth Mentorship and Art Director; Cameron Haughey, Procurement Officer; Joelle Edwards, Grant Writer; Greg Pacilio, Chief Advisor; and Rob Filaroski, communication officer.

Na Lei Wili-AHEC has two open positions to be filled immediately which includes the Donations/In-kind Manager and the Events Planner. Becker said the organization expects to work 40 hours per week of various construction activities for about eight weeks for a total of 320 hours, just for the construction.

“We have monthly reporting and various volunteer coordination, oversight, fundraising, and evaluation activities that would contribute another 200 hours, conservatively,” said Becker.

Becker said the project is expensive, and to do it right will cost more than the amount awarded, the Kaua‘i Skatepark Foundation, led by DePasquale, will be leading the vigorous fundraising activities in the coming months for Phase II.

“Those activities include sourcing additional grants, donations of skateboards, pads, and helmets for monthly skate-product giveaways to our underserved youth, as well as NLW-AHEC/Kauai Skatepark Foundation T-shirt sales,” said Becker.

For more information, contact DePasquale, at 808-212-6431 or kauaidarin@gmail.com.

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Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

3 Comments
  1. Bobo August 27, 2020 3:18 pm Reply

    I don’t understand how we can use covid money to fix a park that will allow people to congregate. I though covid money is supposed to help small businesses and people who cannot pay for food etc.


  2. Mailman Mike August 27, 2020 3:23 pm Reply

    That’s a lot of money. Are they building a roof over the park? What does this have to Covid-19 again?


  3. Joallen August 28, 2020 2:15 am Reply

    I am a little confused as to how justify that covid money could be used for a skatepark. I understand that kids need a place to play but they specifically need education and nutritious food on the table. Businesses are closing, people are moving, and many are on unemployment due to these circumstances. So we want to build a better skatepark so people can congregate together? Did we forget about social distancing? Did we forget that many children are doing their education online due to the current pandemic?


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