Groundbreaking Held for Central Maui Regional Sports Complex
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KJcq-5xu0Q /] By Wendy Osher
A groundbreaking ceremony was held today for the new Central Maui Regional Sports Complex located on 65-acres in the master-planned Waiʻale community.
The park complex is designed to meet the community need for recreational facilities and in the process will generate some 30,000 hours of work for construction crews on the island, according to Chad Goodfellow, president of Goodfellow Bros. construction company.
The park is in addition to the 209-acre Central Maui Regional Park located further west on the other side of Waiko Road. Both facilities will become part of the Central Maui Regional Park system.
Phase 1 of the project will cost approximately $14.8 million and includes construction of a high school baseball field, two softball fields, two comfort stations, a concession stand, parking, landscaping, an irrigation well, and storage tank.
Construction on Phase 1 is slated for completion in October 2015.
A total of $5 million in additional funding has already been appropriated in fiscal year 2015 for future phases of the park. The funds will be used toward the construction of two additional softball fields, four little league baseball fields, three soccer fields, an additional concession stand, additional comfort stations, parking and landscaping.
The Central Maui Regional Sports Complex is being funded by $4.7 million in general obligation bonds, according to officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is the managing agency for the project.
Governor Neil Abercrombie said the new facility will benefit the community by “meeting an overwhelming demand for active sports fields on the island.”
During the event a small group of protesters holding two hand-made banners stood in opposition to the project claiming it is illegal.
Dignitaries who spoke at the event addressed the protesters with a commitment to continue to address concerns raised.
“Be it noise, lighting, (or) traffic,” Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui said, “I do have a pledge. I know that there are some surrounding community members who are concerned and they have my commitment that although we are moving forward, we will be committed to trying to address some of these concerns.
“It is important. I think any time you start a project, you want to be a good neighbor. So we are going to continue to do that … Yes, we’re not always going to agree on everything, but I’m sure that we can come to some common ground and find that we have more in common and more that we agree with than what we disagree with,” he said.
Governor Neil Abercrombie delivered a similar statement saying, “You can’t always get agreement on everything all the way up and down the line, no matter what — even when it’s something as joyful as a park and the voices of little kids, and the opportunity for people to play, recreate, and enjoy themselves.”
“What the park offers is an opportunity for people to get together, talk over what they think would be possible in terms of recreation, in terms of bringing joy into people’s lives, and turning that which was otherwise barren and unused into something that enhances the community life for everyone,” said Governor Abercrombie.
“No-one will remember five years from now what the arguments were all about. What they will be recalling, and what they will be enjoying is the participation of the entire community in activities that brings joy to everyone,” said Governor Abercrombie.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa also commented expressing support for more playing fields in Central Maui. “Sometimes there are as many as five sports clubs using the same field,” he noted.
According to Arakawa, Central Maui sports groups that receive athletic field permits include: MGSA, Bronco League, Little League, American Youth Soccer Organization, Hawaii Youth Soccer Association, HSF, as well as adult leagues for soccer, softball, and baseball.
“We’ve outgrown the field inventory here,” said Jon Viela, a community member and coach also addressed the crowd.
The Central Maui Regional Sports Complex, he said, “will give our kids more opportunity to participate in athletic activities. Everyone here on Maui — the youth and even our senior athletes … parents, grandparents and spectators — deserve this regional park. As a father and a coach, I am so grateful for the county and the state to work together to make this park and this complex a reality.”