Kalena Park, in the center of downtown Līhuʻe, needed some tender loving care and redesign. The fence surrounding the park was uninviting and it had no sense of entry. The playground equipment and restrooms needed upgrading. Undesirable behavior created a perception of the park being unsafe. Get Fit Kauai’s Kalena Park Community Action Group with representatives from the Lihue business community, County of Kaua‘i Parks and Recreation Department, County of Kaua‘i Planning Department and Lihue Boys and Girls Club decided to have a community workday to implement the modified park plan prepared by Barth and Associates back in 2019. This proved to be a fantastic way to build community support for and ownership of the park. Over 100 volunteers showed up! Leaders were selected for each aspect of the work: installation of the rubber tiles, tree planting, and general park cleanup. Equipment was rented to scalp the lawn and compact the soil for the installation of the rubber tiles. Hand tools were provided by the Parks Department. Concurrent with the volunteer work, paid artists painted murals on the restroom and the concrete contractors stained the spheres and aloha sign.
Because of the improvements made to the park, suddenly, families, seniors, EVERYONE, felt welcomed in the park, and some undesirable activities that frequently happen in underused spaces disappeared. Some people who live within walking distance remarked that they never would have thought to bring their children to the park because it felt unsafe, but now they would.
This wonderful project was funded by Kaiser Permanente, the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health, and a County of Kaua‘i grant through Get Fit Kaua‘i. View the before and afters below! For more information please visit Get Fit Kaua‘i or contact Bev Brody at firstname.lastname@example.org.