Thursday, August 7, 2008

$5,000 grant for beach path in Waianae

A project that would create a two-mile multi-use pathway along the Wai'anae Coast received a $5,000 grant from AlohaCare Hawaii. The planned pathway will help to improve the health of Hawaii communities and prevent childhood and adult obesity. The funds will be used to design and plan the path from Lualualei Naval Rd. to Ho'okele St.

Rep. Maile Shimabukuro (District 45 – Wai'anae, Makaha, Makua) drafted the proposal that was selected to receive the AlohaCare Community Conscience Award to help jumpstart the "People's Path," a safe and scenic route along the beautiful beaches of Wai'anae for residents to use for biking, walking, jogging and other forms of exercise. In addition, the proposed pathway will connect to the state's planned bike path and act as an alternate means of transportation for residents suffering from traffic congestion. The project plan is to eventually extend the pathway along the entire Wai'anae Coast.

"Receiving these funds at this moment in time is just the stimulus needed to initiate tangible work on the path," said Rep. Shimabukuro. "Our volunteers have been working so hard cleaning up the beach, and this money will get us on that path to putting things in motion. I am so thankful that AlohaCare gave us this opportunity to complete this much-needed pathway that will benefit the health and overall attitude of the Wai'anae community."

Shimabukuro's proposed budget includes the following items: leveling the land; surfacing the path with rubber or gravel; landscaping the area with native; drought-resistant plants; area maintenance; and support for volunteer clean-up events. Shimabukuro estimates that with the help of private, public and government agencies, and community volunteers, the project can be completed within a year.

Over 55 volunteers joined Shimabukuro and her family in April to clean up trash and debris on the beach, and to help plant native Hawaiian plants along the projected pathway area. As the first of many beach clean-up events scheduled this year, it was a success. More than 80 bags of litter, tires, car parts and other bulky items were collected and removed.

Women of Wai'anae, which is one of the groups Shimabukuro is working with to organize the community work days for the path, will be meeting at the pathway site Friday, August 8 at 6 p.m. The location for the meeting is at Nanikai Park (at the intersection of Kaukama Road and Farrington highway). For more information, please call 696-4677 or 349-3075.

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