Need for park space doesn’t mean sports fields

“Supporters of sports clash with residents” (The Maui News, May 1) quotes the lieutenant governor as saying the county needs “more fields to meet the rising demand on Maui” even after the proposed sports complex is built. He is referring to the 2007 Public Facilities Assessment Update, County of Maui. The article seems to quote him as saying “the county identified the need for an additional 542 acres of park space to support the growing population in the Kahului and Wailuku areas.”

We need more park space, but what kind of fields and what is meant by park space? The 2007 report by Towill Corp. for the Maui Planning Department referenced Wailuku-Kahului’s need for almost 542 acres of subregional park space and 755.9 acres of regional park space. Parks contain many kinds of facilities, including gymnasiums, sports fields, pools, dog parks, etc.

The report noted that for 2030 Wailuku-Kahului “will need 34 additional tennis courts, 3 tot lots, 40 sports courts, and 3 community centers.” The report did not recommend sports fields (baseball, football, softball and soccer), as these were deemed adequate in number. For example, for 2015, for every 2,000 people, there was a surplus of 12.4 sports fields. By 2030, this surplus would drop to 4.7.

The cry for Maui sports fields may reflect poor scheduling, poor facility maintenance and facility deficiency in some Maui communities. The lieutenant governor mislabeled the documented general need for more park space as a need for more sports fields.

Harley I. Manner