At 10:00am this Saturday, June 4, 2016 in the Niu Valley Neighborhood Park at 5510 Kanau Street, the Niu Valley Community Association is holding a grand opening celebration of their newly completed playground, bringing a happy ending to a 12 year bureaucratic struggle with both City and State agencies.
It all started when the 2 year old son of Niu Valley resident Jeannine Johnson was playing ball between the cars on a busy street. Then and there she realized her community lacked a simple playground where children could safely play away from the streets. Little did Jeannine know she would have to go through 12 years, 113 donors, 4 mayors, 1 governor, 3 council members, 1 legislator, and nearly $80,000 in donations in order to see her vision realized. “I have been truly honored to work with the residents of Niu Valley and an awesome team of dedicated people to build the playground of our dreams.”, she said.
“This is an amazing story about a tiny community that faced countless bureaucratic, financial, and logistical hurdles while demonstrating an amazing tenacity to see their project completed”, said Peter Kay, Niu Valley Community Association (NVCA) Vice President, “This Saturday is going to be an emotional closure for so many of us”
The playground equipment was paid for by the NVCA after raising approx $80,000 from individual and corporate sponsors, including a $15,000 grant from KaBOOM! and Let’s Play, led by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Local corporate sponsors include HMSA, Bank of Hawaii Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, Pflueger Auto Group, and RevoluSun among others. Mike McFarlane, the playground consultant that helped procure the equipment said, “This playground was much more than a professional endeavor for me, it was a chance to be a part of a true grassroot effort with a great community.”
The Grand Opening program starts promptly at 10am. All are invited to attend and capture what is shaping up to be an emotionally powerful and culturally rich event in Niu Valley.
About Let’s Play:
Let’s Play is a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families to play nationwide. We believe that the key to healthy living is managing calories in and calories out. Our goal is to help families achieve that balance by providing the tools, places and inspiration to make physical activity a daily priority.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America. We create great places to play, inspire communities to promote and support play, and work to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy lives and communities.