After 12 years, Niu Valley finally has its playground

After 12 years, Niu Valley finally has its playground

It took a little over a year to build the Empire State building. Four years to construct the Golden Gate Bridge and a decade to dig the Panama Canal.

The new playground in Niu Valley? Twelve years.

"The community is about to explode enjoy over a 12-year struggle," said Peter Kay, vice president Nui Valley Community Association

Up until now, Niu Valley was the only neighborhood on Oahu that didn't have a playground. On Saturday, the community association will hold a grand opening to mark the end of their 12-year battle to see a playground built.

The obstacles came from the city and state.

"We were told there wasn't enough money. Fine. We'll got the money to buy the equipment," Kay said. "We spent years getting sponsors and everything to raise the money. Then they said there's no plans so we had architects donate their time to draft up 200-page plans. Then they said there's no land. Well we had a neighbor do a survey so we went one thing after the other to kind of overcome."

Kay says he's never gotten a clear explanation why the process took so long.

The mayor's office also couldn't say why the project dragged on for 12 years.

City Councilman Trevor Ozawa, whose district includes Niu Valley, also isn't sure what happened.

"We've gone through several mayors. We've gone through several councilmembers here. I'm not sure what happened in the past but for me it's been about persistence," he said.

In the end, it took Ozawa, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the community to get results.

"The fence is supposed to come down Friday," Kay said.

Now that the playground is built, Kay says it's more than a place for kids to play. He says it's the heart of his neighborhood .

A small aside: the community raised enough money to purchase adult exercise equipment. But because there wasn't enough funding to set it up, it's been donated to another neighborhood.

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