Let the playing begin!
Since the jungle gym and slide was removed from One Ali’i Park about five years ago, Molokai has not had a public playground. Keiki can use the school playgrounds during school time but after the final bell rings use of the playgrounds is considered trespassing.
With the blessing and ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday by Maui County officials, the new One Ali’i Park playground opened for business.
The plan and funding for the playground was announced in 2010. At that time, Zachary Helm, Molokai District Supervisor for the Maui County Department of Parks and Recreation, said he hoped the project would be completed by the fall of 2011.
As with so many construction projects on Molokai, delays set in. By early 2012 it appeared as if the project was complete. For months, an orange plastic fence surrounded the playground. Yesterday the fence came down so the keiki could start sliding and climbing.
The project was funded with a $62,000 grant from Van Valkenburg Trust and an additional $82,500 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Total cost was $150,000.
More than half of that money went toward the shipping and equipment itself, with the rest paying for the labor. The manufacturer of the equipment, Innovation Playground and Recreation, supplied a supervisor during the construction of the project.
Safety is a key feature of the new playground. During the 1990s, many Maui County playgrounds were shut down when child injuries led to lawsuits. The county has made sure to reduce its liability by including cushioned ground material and a barrier of boulders to keep off vehicle traffic. It is also in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with its handicapped accessibility.