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Friday, March 17, 2000



By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
This park in Villages at Kapolei is surrounded by a locked chain-
link fence. A dispute between the contractor and the homeowners
association has left the park off-limits.

Kapolei park goes
unused because of
liability issue

The homeowners' association
refuses to accept the park due to
'the form of the deed'

By Treena Shapiro


THE only thing that streaks down the new yellow slide is red dirt. The only people that walk on the grass are those who mow it.

The park in Kapolei could be filled with children. Instead it's surrounded by a metal fence.

Map "A bunch of kids here have nowhere to play," said Antwan Stuart, father of two children, 9 and 6.

For the past year, the park has been the center of a legal dispute between developer Watt Homes and the Villages at Kapolei Association. Watt Homes, owner of the park, had planned to turn it over to the homeowners association, as required in its contract with the Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii.

But the association isn't ready to accept it, citing problems with "the form of the deed," according to David Clymer, Watt Homes vice president.

The park will remain closed until the issue of liability is settled. "We would love to turn it over to them," Clymer said.

The association declined to comment.

Russell Nanod, state housing information officer, said, "It seems unfortunate that a completed park would just sit."

According to Nanod, the association knew it would be given the park at no cost and, in return, it would accept responsibility for the park's care, upkeep and potential liability.

"It was part of the development agreement from day one," Nanod said.

The park, about one acre, is too small to dedicate to the city, Nanod said, and the state housing agency board would have to determine whether it would accept the land.

When the Stuarts moved into the A'eloa subdivision on Namahoe Street in August 1997, they were told a park would be built right across the street, and it was.

It just never has been open.

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
No trespassing signs warn would-be park-goers to keep out.

Now children staying close to home are forced to play in or near the parking lot, on small grassy plots, or even near the Dumpster.

Stuart says the kids have scratched cars, damaged trees and broken a window while playing. "We really have to crawl driving in and driving out. They're playing in between cars, balls are coming out of nowhere," he said.

"It's just an accident waiting to happen."

But there are two other parks nearby, about a mile away. It's a 20-minute walk with a small child, said Toshiko Kaneshiro. Walking home on Namahoe Street, Kaneshiro held an umbrella to shield the sun with one hand and grasped her granddaughter's hand with the other.

Kaneshiro said some people had cut through the fence to get into the park, but it has since been repaired. "People come and clean up," she said. "But they don't open it. Sometimes my granddaughter asks when this is going to open."

Kaneshiro said that since they fenced in the park, bordered by Namahoe Street and Kealanani Avenue, the walk to the Kealanani bus stop takes longer. Instead of just being able to walk straight through to the other side, people have to walk around the block, about three times the distance.

Daren Reyes, a third-grader at Kapolei Elementary, passes the fenced park when he rides his bike to and from school. He said he often plays at the park by the rec center. "I bike or go inside the car," he said, explaining that it's far enough away for his mother to drive.

The park on Namahoe Street is closer, said the 8-year-old. "I like go to this one, but it's closed."

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