Community Looks to Make Hanapēpē Pop-Up Skatepark Permanent Fixture
Last year after hundreds of west side residents gave testimony during the development of the county’s West Kaua‘i Community Plan requesting more skateboarding facilities for youth in rural neighborhoods, county officials held a small blessing ceremony Friday, July 2, to begin the construction of a new “pop-up” skatepark situated behind the Hanapēpē fire station.
And while the project was immediately initiated by efforts coordinated by the county’s Planning Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, Kaua‘i Skate ‘Ohana, or KSO, and community volunteers, county officials say the development of a permanent skate park might take another year of planning.
“After a year or two of use, the County will utilize feedback from this site in the master planning of the park area,” said County of Kaua’i Planning Director Kaaina Hull in a statement to Kaua‘i Now News.
“The facility itself was funded by a state grant that is for temporary facilities to both test the demand as well as the impact of these types of facilities,” noted Hull.
The grant specifically funds strategies that improve the built environment to facilitate physical activity and healthy initiatives.
The cost of the Hanapēpē skatepark totaled approximately $35,000 and was funded through a quick-build grant from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, or DOH, with the purpose to enhance public spaces in ways that will encourage physical activity.
And while the county has not received any complaints about the skate facility in the past year, the planning department emphasized the community’s optimism.
“…We have, however, received a multitude of positive feedback from the users and the skate community,” added Hull.
The project included two skate halfpipes, one, 3 feet and the other, 6 feet in height.
Hanapēpē fire station Captain Nick Hill highlighted the necessity for safe and modern outlets for the county’s youth and agreed there is a need to promote outdoor physical activity.
“The department fully supports the ramps in the park and the possibility it will become permanent.”
Kaua‘i Now then asked if there were any negatives associated with the pop-up in the past year.
“Our general feeling is that the park has been a positive for the community,” said Hill, adding, “We’ve dealt with a lot of derelict people in that park behind the station in the past, so it’s been a positive change to have more families utilizing the area.”
Hill, who has served the island of Kaua‘i for 15 years noted the park’s proximity to the station.
“Parents love it, they enjoy having that facility and hope that the park expands. They’re grateful that it’s in a safe location,” adding, “From a fire department standpoint, we have had incidents where people have been injured. But we’re in full support and believe it’s a good thing to have in our backyard.”
“…even off-duty guys go to the park themselves,” noted Hill.
Although multiple attempts to contact KSO failed, the nonprofit, and charitable organization strongly feels that Kaua‘i youth deserve to have more public places on the island to go skateboarding.
KSO, whose motto is “Skateboard, Share Stoke, Give Back,” states on its website that it took nearly 20 years to fulfill an official skatepark promise to the community.
“In 2000, several founding members of KSO worked relentlessly to get the Kapa‘a Skatepark built. And 20 years later in 2020, Kaua‘i’s first concrete skatepark was built over the existing Kapa‘a Skatepark.”
To learn more about KSO’s mission, or to donate, please visit Kaua‘i Skate ‘Ohana click here