The First Phase of the South Maui Community Park and the Kihei Bikeway Celebrate Openings

South Maui Community Park, Bikeway Open

Long-awaited projects make headway. “It has taken a lot of funding… and a lot of patience.”

By: Steve Slater & Debra Lordan
Article from: Maui Weekly

The grand opening of the first phase of the South Maui Community Park was celebrated on Friday, July 29, as well as the opening of the Kīhei Bikeway and maile-cutting ceremony for Kīhei’s first proposed roundabout. The mayor said these projects are the start of others that will create a healthier environment for local families around the county. “This is for our children and our children’s children, those who will eventually shape our future,” he said.

Even under partly cloudy skies, it was still a very bright day for South Maui as Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, County Council members, community leaders and a crowd of approximately 100 community members gathered for the grand opening of the first phase of the South Maui Community Park on Friday, July 29. And on the same day, the mayor also became the first to roll out on the new Kīhei Bikeway Project, and cut the maile lei for Kīhei’s first roundabout, which, when completed, will connect to the bike path.
The 44-acre park makai of the Pi‘ilani Highway near Lokelani Intermediate and Kīhei Elementary Schools has been in the planning process for seven years and under construction for the past year-and-a-half.

Speaking for past administrations, Mayor Arakawa said the park was long overdue for the Kīhei community, which began asking for their own park in the late 1980s.

“This has been the work of four administrations now,” said the mayor. “It has taken a lot of funding… and a lot of patience.”

South Maui Community Park will be completed in three phases. The recently completed components of Phase 1 include 20 landscaped acres with a soccer/utility field, baseball field, lighting, restrooms, a 3,000-square-foot playground, concrete benches, a concession stand, picnic tables, grilling pits, access roads and a 113-car parking lot.

According to Maui County Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Patrick Matsui, about $11 million was spent on the initial part of Phase 1, which was constructed by Goodfellow Bros. Inc. The $11 million didn’t include an estimated $200,000 worth of state-of-the-art playground equipment and rubber safety surface, which were donated and installed by Pyramid Project Management, the Grand Wailea and other volunteers. Maui Land & Pine also donated park trees.

Phase 1 will conclude with the construction of a 1,000-seat gymnasium. Superintendent Matsui said the gym will cost about “that much again” to complete the phase. He said they are not sure when funds will be allocated to complete the gymnasium or the final two phases of the park, but added that if the Honua‘ula housing project is built by Wailea 670 Associates in Mākena, the company reportedly will donate $5 million toward the completion of the community park.

Goodfellow Brothers representative Ray Skelton noted that the project was as “green” as possible.

“We recycled the clearing material, using dirt and rock from on site,” said Skelton. “That saved 570 truckloads of fill.” He noted that 25 million gallons of reused water was utilized in building the park. Skelton also said that 75,600 man-hours were needed in the construction, and at its peak, there were 85 employees.

South Maui Councilman Don Couch thanked “everyone who stuck to this,” spotlighting the Kīhei Community Association “for keeping our feet to the fire.”

The 24 acres yet to be developed in Phases 2 and 3 will include more soccer and other playing fields, two more playgrounds, a pavilion, youth center and tennis and basketball courts. Construction is estimated to be completed anywhere between 2015 and 2020.

“As Kīhei grows, its facilities must grow with it,” said the mayor. “We hope children of all ages will enjoy this park for generations to come.”

“Let’s make this the jewel of Kīhei,” said Councilman Couch.

Also on Friday, after cutting the maile lei during a ceremony at the corner of Liloa Drive and Pi‘ikea Avenue, Mayor Arakawa rode a borrowed bicycle over the first 50 yards of the Kīhei Bikeway, “drafted” by a small group of bike riders who also wanted to try out the path spanning a little less than a mile from East Waipuilani Road to East Līpoa Street.

Speaking to the crowd beforehand, the mayor said that this project was the start of others that would create a healthier environment for local families around the county.

A groundbreaking ceremony was also held for the Kīhei Roundabout at the intersection of Liloa Drive and Pi‘ikea Avenue. Work was scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 1, and once complete, it will become a part of the bikeway. The roundabout is expected to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in the area.

“Everyone will want one,” said Councilmember Couch. “Go back to your community and say, ‘Where’s ours?’”

The Kīhei Bikeway took about three-and-a-half years to complete at an estimated cost of $2.9 million, which includes nighttime lighting along the path.

The roundabout project is estimated at $1.9 million and will take about 270 days to complete construction.

“This project [the bikeway] took way too long,” said Public Works Director David Goode. “As long as I’m in office, projects will not take this long.”

“Let’s build a healthier Maui,” the mayor commented about the bikeway. “One that we want our children to live in.”

“In the end it has all been worth it,” Mayor Arakawa said about the recently completed projects. “This is for our children and our children’s children, those who will eventually shape our future.”

The bikeway and park are now open. The park’s first official use will occur this month, when a girls’ fast-pitch league will initiate the ball field.