County officials held a small blessing ceremony Friday, July 2, to begin the construction of a new “pop-up” skatepark located at the Hanapēpē Town Park.
The temporary skatepark is being installed through efforts coordinated by the county’s Planning Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, Kaua‘i Skate ‘Ohana and community volunteers.
The project includes two skate halfpipes – one, 3-feet and the other, 6-feet in height. After receiving hundreds of testimonies during the development of the county’s West Kaua‘i Community Plan, requesting more skateboarding facilities on the west side, officials initiated plans for the project.
“There is an abundance of parks for every single sport, except for skateboarding. As we provide more skateparks like the one in Kapa‘a and Līhu‘e, we are seeing more and more keiki enjoying life because they have a safe space to express themselves,” said Mayor Derek SK Kawakami. “This project would not be possible without the many hands involved. Mahalo to Lee Steinmetz and our Planning Department, state DOH, Gregg Pacilio, Mark Cooper, and the Kaua‘i Skate ‘Ohana, and our Parks Department.”
The cost of the Hanapēpē skatepark totals approximately $35,000. The project is funded through a quick-build grant from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) with the purpose to enhance public spaces in ways that will encourage physical activity. The grant funds projects that can be quickly implemented in months, instead of years, and that can help the community envision more permanent, long-term solutions.
“These half pipes are temporary and will be utilized to test the facility’s usage and impact on the surrounding area,” said Planning Director Ka‘āina Hull. “If there are little to no negative impacts, the county can begin to look at siting a permanent skate facility at this site. And on the other hand, if there is low usage and/or considerable impacts, we can remove the skatepark with relative ease and expediency.”
The county recently installed a pop-up skatepark at the Līhu‘e Civic Center in October, also through a quick-build grant from DOH, to bring purpose and new life to the underutilized space until a long-term use is considered.
Officials anticipate construction of the pop-up skatepark will complete in mid-July. An announcement will be made when the skatepark opens to the public.