Hauula skate park plan fails
Swampy soil raises the estimate to build the long-delayed facility
Lack of funding has put plans for a Hauula skate park in a "fakie," a skating term for going backward while facing forward.
The cost to build a skating area on Hauula Community Park is $134,000 more than what the city budgeted, according to city officials. The contractor's offer soared past the budgeted amount of $249,000 because of the soil the community park sits on.
As a result, the city is no longer comfortable about building a skate park at the soft-soiled community park, said city spokesman Bill Brennan. The park was built adjacent to a swamp.
"We try to keep parks in as natural a state as possible," Brennan said. "To throw a bunch of concrete there wouldn't be right."
The city may consider placing the skate park, which has been in the works since former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration, at the current Hauula Fire Station location after the station is moved to a new area.
"The project is not canceled," Brennan said. "It's basically been postponed while we rearrange some things."
Although $75,000 was available to the park in fiscal 2005, city officials said that money was designated for park improvements in general, and the fund has already been used up.
City officials said that such projects rely on borrowed money, and if they are delayed, the money is no longer available to use in this fiscal year.
Tyler Silva and his friends had petitioned for a skate park when he was in high school. Now 23, the Hauula resident said he and his friends have stopped skating and given up hope on a skate park in the area.
"We got about 500 signatures," Silva said. "We gave the petition to some guy who worked with state construction ... He said he would help us. Up to today, we haven't seen no commitment made in making a Hauula skate park, and most of us quit skating already."
Deedee Letts, chairwoman of the Koolauloa Neighborhood Board, has been working on getting a skate park for years, and said there is a need for that kind of area for teens and young adults.
Although the city owns 10 acres in Hauula for recreation, about 63 percent of it is wetland, leaving only 3.7 acres available, according to the 2006 Koolauloa Region Park Master Plan by the city Department of Design and Construction.
With a population of almost 4,000 in the Hauula area, about eight acres of parkland is needed. The plan recommends that the city either reclaim the area and relocate the wetlands, or acquire additional park space.
However, funding for a feasibility study will not kick in until fiscal 2009 or 2010, according to the park master plan.
Wade Morisato, a 42-year-old skater who has lobbied for skate parks throughout the years, said building a park for skaters would keep children off the street. It also would encourage a closer community, with older skaters mingling with the younger generation.
"There's such a wide range of people going into those parks," Morisato said. "You'll have the older guys keeping an eye on the younger ones. It's not like kids watching kids anymore."
Letts hopes the city will consider some sort of play court in Hauula Community Park as compensation.
"The community is very disappointed that a skate park is not going to be built," Letts said. "That's why we're trying to salvage what we can by asking for an active play court."
But Silva has a more resigned, sarcastic yet hopeful approach to the delay of the skate park.
"Hopefully if it does get built, it will be completed so at least our kids can enjoy it," Silva said. "Or our kids' kids, however long that project takes."