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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, August 25, 2002

Kahalu'u park gets cleaned up

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KAHALU'U — Community residents, agencies, churches and workers from the city parks department cleaned a small Kane'ohe Bay-front park yesterday that was recently acquired by the city to open another access to the ocean.

The unnamed park at the water's edge of Ka'alaea Valley is small by parks standards but offers a big advantage to the public, which has been complaining for years about too few accesses to the bay.

But the 11,500-square-foot site was overgrown with vegetation, and one of two houses on the property had burned down and had to be cleared away, said John Reppun, coordinator for KEY Project's Community Development Program.

About 50 members of the cleanup cut, cleared and hauled away truckloads of material from 8 a.m. to noon, leaving a view to Wailau Peninsula and Ma'eli'eli Ridge when traveling toward Kane'ohe.

The city responded to a community request to purchase the parcel when it came up for sale last year.

"But there was no maintenance plan and no long-term plan," Reppun said. "So for at least the moment, the community's stepping up and getting things started is a good way to go."

The city completed the purchase of the property for about $375,000 earlier this year, said Bob Mon, legislative aide to City Councilman Steve Holmes. The price was negotiated with the owner for two parcels, both of which included a house, Mon said.

Holmes has been responsible for adding numerous acres of shoreline parks to the city's inventory, including land in Kahalu'u and Waiahole.

"His intention was to provide access to the shoreline," Mon said. "He felt there wasn't enough, and this was an opportunity to provide access."

The Ka'alaea park is next to the now-closed gas station building and Grinder's Drive-In. When the two businesses were operating, it was a community center for Ka'alaea, Reppun said.

"We lost our little village center and maybe this will be one very short step to creating a little village center," he said.