The bright hot sun reflects off the sign at the park entry.

Maui County government’s facilities’ website states that Hale Pi’ilani Park offers a variety of amenities. The description reads that the park has baseball or softball fields, basketball courts, parking, playground, and a soccer field. The description is clearly out of date as there hasn’t been a playground in that park for six years or more.

A hose sticking out of the ground in the area where a playground set used to be.

Also, the descriptions uses plurals, as if there are multiple courts and fields but there aren’t. There’s only only one large grassy area, presumably the “soccer field”, and one gated, fenced basketball court with cracked tar.

Fortunately, the Maui Department of Parks and Recreation office has a web-based citizen suggestion site. The site is in two parts: the Aquatics Master Plan and District Plans. Hale Pi’ilani is under the South Maui District Plan.

The park has a lots of potential, even though it is small. It is within walking distance of hundreds of local families.

It is possible to envision a playground, a circular sidewalk which would allow ADA access, possible exercise or bike path on the perimeter of the park, shaded areas with benches for sitting so families can watch their children at play. There is only one water fountain but more would be needed. A two-person restroom facility will help keep the location clean.

The lone basketball court at the park is sporting a few cracks in the black top.

The basketball courts, once the blacktop is repaired, may need stadium benches outside the cage.

There’s room for a small pavilion on the other side of the court.

A small pavilion on the far side of the park could host family barbecues.

The soccer area looks a little small but it may be just right for younger soccer teams who are just learning.

This mowed but underutilized soccer area could possibly be turned into a walking area with a centralized garden.

Another idea is that the greenway can be converted to more walking and sitting areas, with a central garden and possibly a gazebo, to provide attractive surroundings for Kihei citizens to take an early morning or evening stroll.

Since the park is named after a king, Hale Pi’ilani should have some type of memorial so that island history can be appreciated.

During the upcoming months of being post-COVID, and finally being able to socialize and exercise, improving this little park would be an excellent step in the right direction of beautifying Kihei and providing more options for healthy activities.

Residents who live near the park or anyone who just wants to develop points of green space on Maui, are encouraged to stay in contact with the Maui Department of Parks and Recreation to stay informed about progress and projects.

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