PRINCEVILLE — Grandma has nowhere to go, Rotarian China Li Price said Tuesday afternoon while watching the Ever Play crew prepare for the installation of the Kaua‘i FitLot at the Prince Albert Park in Princeville.
“Grandma is going to be 90 years old this year,” Price said. “Where can she go?”
Price was among the handful of people who gathered in the park to watch Peter Morrow and John Cervantes of Ever Play tear apart the ground close to the parking area to install what will form the centerpiece of the Kaua‘i Kupuna Park.
“The development of Kaua‘i Kupuna Park represents an exciting vision to benefit our citizens both young and old,” said Bill Schilling, co-president of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay. “This place honoring seniors started when the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay accepted a Hawai‘i Rotary District grant of $5,000 in March following the vision planted by Rotarian China.”
The Kaua‘i FitLot, described as the first phase of the Kaua‘i Kupuna Park, is a 42-foot circular platform featuring low-impact equipment designed for kupuna.
Funding for the FitLot came with the approval of a $75,000 AARP Challenge Grant submitted by the Rotary Club of Hanalei and the Princeville at Hanalei Community Association.
“Where else would you find someone willing to give you more than you asked for?” Schilling said. “On May 7, the AARP said the original grant was similar to a national FitLot initiative and they would provide a grant for $180,000 instead of the original amount.”
In 2018, AARP announced that it would fund a FitLot outdoor exercise system in every state over three years. The Kaua‘i FitLot, when installed over the next few weeks, will mark Hawai‘i as the last of the 50 states to get the exercise system and be placed in the most-rural of any location.
“Grandma can’t be here because she’s watching grandbabies,” Price said. “But she must be happy knowing that she is the inspiration for the FitLot and the Kaua‘i Kupuna Park.”
Rotarian Jonathan McRoberts said this is one of the fastest Rotary projects, from getting the idea in April to turning ground in September, with completion in a matter of weeks.
“This is due to the partnerships with the PHCA, the North Shore Lions Club, community sponsors and lots of volunteers,” McRoberts said. “I’m a member of the North Shore Lions, and this is something they had to be a part of. Separately, look at what the clubs achieve. Together, we do a lot more.”
Following the completion of the first phase, Schilling said the second phase includes making the area compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, with concrete sidewalks. Additionally, the Rotary Club plans to construct a 900-square-foot pavilion that is three times the size of the existing pavilion, as well as improve the existing bathroom facilities.
“We’ll look at fundraising for phase two once this phase is done,” McRoberts said.
Price was thrilled to find out there are sufficient funds in the grant to allow for users to be able to learn how to use the equipment to get the best use of the facility.
“Once everything is put together, the kupuna will have a place to come together, talk, socialize and just be happy,” Price said. “That’ll be phase three.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.