Renovating Kalena Park in the Līhu‘e Town Core
The Kalena Park Action Group is the outcome of two previous groups: the YEAH action group and the Rice Street Block Party. The Rice Street Block Party brought a new-found interest and enthusiasm for the revitalization of the Rice Street District and included a highly successful Keiki in the Park day at Kalena Park.
The YEAH action group engaged middle-school-aged youth from the Boys and Girls Club in an analysis of their built environment, and they focused on the need to renovate Kalena Park in the Līhu‘e Town Core. Their recommendation was to start with programming, such as movies in the park, to focus interest in park renovation. As a result of their recommendations, a new action group has been formed to program a movie series at Kalena Park. This is perhaps the most age-diverse action group, bringing together everyone from middle-school age youth to seniors living at the adjacent Kaniko‘o Senior Housing.
2020 UPDATE: In the fall of last year, Dr. David Barth from Barth Associates spent 5 days on Kauai and met with community members, high-level officials from around the island, and the business community to discuss Kalena Park design concepts. At the end of his visit, consensus was reached for one of the designs. The new Kalena Park Plan represents several years of hard work and the unique collaboration of County government, non-profit organizations, business owners, and input from nearly 200 members of the community. The idea was to make this park a central community gathering place, one that serves the needs of all the people, regardless of age. It is part of the overall effort to revitalize downtown Līhuʻe, the County seat, and the Heart of Kaua’i.
Prior to COVID, Kalena Park Action Group was able to create and print a final brochure of the Park Plan (see brochure). Get Fit Kauai’s next step will be to learn how to redesign parks with social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures in mind.
It is very exciting to be a part of Get Fit Kaua‘i’s Kalena Park Action Group, featuring a cross-section of community groups committed to redesigning Kalena Park. The TIGER Grant promises to completely make over downtown Lihue and it is only fitting that a park in the middle of this urban rejuvenation reflects the needs of the people. This is a true grassroots effort.