Upcountry skate park is becoming a reality

Ground broken on vision of youths at Kekaulike High School

Five shovels made out of skateboards by the Upcountry Skateboard Alliance, who have advocated for the Upcountry skate park, got a chuckle and smiles from those at the groundbreaking of the park Thursday at Pukalani Park. Randy Pye, a member of the group, was the muscle behind the concept. The skate park is expected to be open before the end of the year. The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI / photo

PUKALANI — Finally, Gregory Sherman can see his dream coming to life.

The 21-year-old Pukalani resident envisioned an Upcountry skate park during his senior year at King Kekaulike High School several years ago.

He and former classmate Michael Siver made it their senior project to jump-start the skate park because their community was the only one left on Maui without a place for skateboarders.

There are county skate parks in Kahului, Kihei, Lahaina and Hana. The Paia Youth Community Center runs the StoneWave Skate Park, which was completed with some county funding.

Sherman said he spoke to Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa about the idea, and he and other youths spoke to the community and council members to make the $1.45 million park happen.

Maui County officials, politicians and community members line up before a groundbreaking ceremony for the Upcountry skate park Thursday. The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI / photo

Back then, the teenagers were guided by King Kekaulike High School teacher Petar Kovacic and others in the community.

“It’s just a great blessing,” Sherman said, noting he was just a kick-starter. He said he is “proud of my community.”

On Thursday, Sherman was part of the groundbreaking ceremony for the 15,000 square-foot skate park located at Pukalani Park, which also includes the pool and the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center. The skate park will be on a field below the pool.

Ka’ala Buenconsejo, county parks director, said the county is looking to have the park open by the end of the year. He jokingly told 50 people at the on-site blessing, which included contractor Goodfellow Bros., that the skate park could be a great Christmas gift to the community.

Construction is expected to begin March 19.

The 15,000 square-foot Pukalani skate park will be multilevel and will accommodate beginners to advanced skateboarders. Features include half-pipes, quarter-pipes, rails, ramps, ledges and steps. Graphic courtesy of Maui County

Hours have not been set for the park, but it will close at dusk because there are no lights at the facility, said Buenconsejo. A fence also will be installed.

The skate park is multilevel and will accommodate beginners to advanced skateboarders. Features include half-pipe, quarter-pipe, rails, ramps, ledges and steps, county officials said. It will be similar to the Lahaina Skate Park.

Upcountry skaters have said that they need to drive to other places on the island to skate legally. Many resort to doing their tricks along public roadways and in private areas instead.

California Skateparks was a consultant on the project. They have designed and built facilities for professional skaters, including Tony Hawk, and contests such as the X Games.

The Pukalani Community Association helped support the project as well. President Donna Clayton said that at least $1,000 raised from garage sales will go toward the skate park.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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