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Kalena Park shaping up

LIHU‘E — “Everybody will come!”

KickAss Concrete Owner Keith Duffy mimicked the words uttered by one of his crew members who had earlier volunteered with the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a during the installation of new basketball equipment for the Boys &Girls Club Kapa‘a Clubhouse in February.

Saturday, he joined more than a hundred community volunteers at Kalena Park who tackled the task of setting in improvements that included the removal of the chain-link fence along the Kalena Street boundary, installing oversized planters with trees, setting up areas for picnic tables and general sprucing up the park, including painting the comfort station, and more.

Duffy picked up grinders and sponges to apply color to the concrete spheres and the oversized A-L-O-H-A signage that replaced the fencing that was taken down Friday.

“I’ve got my pickleball net and paddle,” said Jonathan Chun, who walks past the park on nearly a daily basis to and from work. He wielded a shovel and scooped dirt for placement in the planters that sprouted in several areas of the park where pickleball shares use of the basketball court.

The volunteers were visited by Mayor Derek Kawakami and County Councilmember Bernard Carvalho Jr., who had just finished opala patrol with the county’s Employee Council coordinated by Kaleo Carvalho.

Park improvements are being done ahead of a week-long event — Fitness Week in the Park — that will launch on May 16 with Kawakami, said Larry Feinstein of the neighboring Kaua‘i Beer Company, from which Feinstein emerged after prompting the culinary crew to rush lunch preparations because the work was progressing smoothly.

“There will be lots of outdoor activities, like pickleball clinics, yoga in the park and more,” Feinstein said during the construction work being done Friday.

Future plans call for Kalena Park to serve as an anchor for Lihu‘e Loops, a planned, 1.3-mile walking tour of downtown Lihu‘e with 20 stops, each one featuring an audio story.

Among the throng of bustling volunteers, the son of Jean Nakamura, proprietor of Lihu‘e Fishing Supply, a multi-generational business located across Kalena Street, blended in with the activity.

“My mother just told me I had to be here at 7 a.m.,” he said quietly. “I plan to help her take over Lihu‘e Fishing Supply. We have to keep the legacy going.”

Lee and Noreen Steinmetz shephered a group of Marshallese keiki who made short work of collecting fallen leaves and wilted yellow blooms as a parked, wheelchair-bound spectator watched.

“This is a young group from Laukona Park,” Lee Steinmetz said. “They remember you from the food distribution we had at Laukona Park recently. They’re going to do Laukona Park next,” he said of the small park in Hanama‘ulu mauka of Kuhgio Highway.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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