POSTED: 7 OCTOBER 2004 - 3:00pm HST

Kauai Parks & Recreation Master Plan

The view of Salt Pond from the west end of Burns Field looking north. Photo by Juan Wilson.

Editor's Note:
In the fall of 2004 we presented the mayor and the Open Space Commission a proposed Master Plan for the Puolo Point and Salt Pond Area. A press release by mayor Baptiste's office on October 4th has rekindked the issue.

To see previous discussions of this issue see;
Island Breath: Puolo Point 2
Island Breath: Puolo Point 1

For the latest read the new press release below;

Salt Pond Regional Park moves closer to becoming a reality
by Mary Daubert, Kauai public information officer, 4 October 2005

In the late 1990s when Kaua‘i’s General Plan was being updated, a lot of residents expressed their wish to have the Salt Pond area become a regional park.

Now that dream may become a reality.

Recently, officials with the state Department of Transportation have had several discussions with the Baptiste administration on the use of state-owned land in the area specifically Port Allen Airport.

This has resulted in the decision by state officials to offer a portion of the area, a 67.34-acre parcel, to the county for recreational purposes.

The monthly fee would be minimal, $25 for use of the land, plus taxes and assessments.

A proposed 65-year lease was drawn up about a month ago and is being reviewed by county officials. Once they concur on the contents of the document, it will be transmitted to the County Council for their consideration.

“I am pleased that we are looking at fulfilling a dream of the Westside community to expand their recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste, adding that community input on the use of the future regional park would be an important part of the planning process.

Established in the 1930s, the Port Allen Airport also known as Burns Airfield had been used by small aircraft, but in recent years, there has been limited activity in the area, which is part of the reason why transportation officials decided to offer a large chunk of it to the county.

According to State Transportation Director Rodney Haraga, the state doesn’t have any plans to expand the airport so he’s happy that the 67.34-acre parcel would be put to good use.

“We’ve got the land. It makes perfect sense for us to allow the county to use it for recreational purposes,” Haraga said. “Mayor Baptiste took the initiative to approach us with the idea and we’re working with the county to make it happen.”
Adding the Port Allan parcel to the county’s parks system would be a boon for the West Side, said Mel Nishihara, parks administrator for the county’s Department of Public Works.

“There are so many possibilities for the 67.34 acres,” Nishihara said. “And if you combine this with county-owned parcels in the area, the whole place could become like Ala Moana or Kapiolani Park on Oahu.”

Among the activities he envisions at the Port Allen Airport site are picnicking, camping, fishing, and possibly soccer.

Bordering Burns Airfield at its northwest corner is Salt Pond Park, a popular destination for both residents and visitors for picnicking, camping and parties.
About 1/8 mile east of the Port Allen Airport is the Hanapepe Stadium complex. A variety of sporting events are held there including baseball, football, soccer and tennis.

Located right next to the stadium is the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center where seniors enjoy a host of activities and residents hold birthday, graduation and wedding parties.

Across the street from the neighborhood center is the Department of Public Works Hanapepe Baseyard, the center of operations for the beautification and maintenance crew for the entire West Side.

Adjacent to the baseyard is the Veterans’ Cemetery, which is owned and maintained by the county.

Also in the vicinity of the Port Allen Airport lies the future home of the county’s Adolescent Drug Treatment Facility.

“There is great potential for expanding recreational opportunities in the Salt Pond/Port Allen Airport area,” said the mayor. “And when we start the planning process, we will definitely ask the community what kinds of activities they would like to have here.”

He pointed out that a major consideration would be the impact of new activities on the Hawaiian salt ponds, where salt-making is still practiced by descendents of ancient salt-makers.

Although the salt beds are not included in the proposed lease, their preservation is paramount, said the mayor.

“We’ll invite everyone to the table and discuss what our options are,” the mayor said. “I am confident that we can all work together in determining what’s best for the community.”

for more information contact
Mary Dauber: Office of the Mayor of Kauai
(808) 241-6303