LAHAINA - "If you build it, they will come" was the mantra of the hit movie "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner. The movie reached motion picture fans with a nostalgic baseball touch years ago, telling the story of an Iowa farm family clearing a corn field to bring back cherished diamond game memories.
Within a distinctly different sport and coming in a time machine to another era, there is yet a warm similarity to the movie with the opening of the long-awaited West Maui Skate Park adjacent to Lahaina Aquatic Center on the corner of Shaw Street fronting Honoapiilani Highway.
Instead of corn, a former sugar cane field was cleared to form a new "field of dreams" that will undoubtedly touch the hearts of the entire West Side community and, moreover, visitors from across the state, country and around the world that come here for the Maui experience.
Donovan McNabb helped push the new West Maui Skate Park from vision to completion for skaters of all ages.
Homegrown and visiting sidewalk surfers will be renegades no more, facing tickets for riding the streets, alleyways and staircases of West Maui.
The ribbon was cut last week Wednesday to officially open the skate park, a facility sponsored primarily by the County of Maui.
Many dignitaries, including Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and County Councilwoman Elle Cochran, were on-hand for the ceremony, but the beam of glorious light this day surely rests in the spirit of project spearhead Donovan McNabb.
McNabb, the owner/operator of Lahaina Skate Company, has been the primary mover over the 12 years of planning, organizing, fundraising, motivating and political maneuvering through multiple county administrations to the completion of the Lahaina skate park.
"I just love this place; the people, the community - everything about West Maui," said McNabb last week at the opening event.
"I am so thankful to the businesses and county and community leaders for their support in bringing this to fruition. It is a victory not so much for us adults, but for the children of the community. It will be so beneficial to all of them in so many ways, as it will bring clean, healthy outdoor sports exercise and fun to the kids - and adults. It is an outdoor activity that is a compliment to the surf culture and all sports.
"I am so thankful to the county and especially to Tammy Osurman, Pat Matsui and Cheryl Akiona of the Parks and Recreation Department; the West Maui Taxpayers Association, including project grant writer Pam English and Joe Pluta; and all who helped with their particular expertise to get this done."
The park was designed and partially constructed by Grindline Skate Parks, with BCT Construction Company of Hawaii doing most of the work.
The picturesque landscaping of the rolling knoll facility with a street course and an advanced bowl section with four- to ten-foot drops was installed by the West Maui Parks crew led by Eddie Curimao.
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, the park is lighted with picnic tables sitting under a shade tree. The price tag was approximately $1.2 million.
This Saturday, May 5, a Lahaina Skate Jam will be held at the park, according to McNabb.
Music, food and drinks will celebrate the opening of the facility for all comers to enjoy.
"The park is open to the public and will be run with a 'skate at your own risk' arrangement with the Parks and Recreation Department. We recommend that all skaters use safety equipment (helmet, pads and shirts) and please respect the park in every way. It is yours to use for years and years to come," he said.
McNabb is organizing a Maui Skateboard Association as a nonprofit group to benefit skateboarding. MSA will sponsor the May 5 event at the park.
For more information, call 661-1637. Ride on!