By Paul C. Curtis - The Garden Island
LIHU‘E — There is hope on the horizon, and on both sides of Hanama‘ulu Stream, that a historic foot bridge separating what used to be known as upper Kapaia valley and lower Kapaia valley could be restored.
Residents in favor of restoration are encouraging people to vote for restoring the bridge online in the ongoing survey suggesting properties to be acquired by the county open-space commission.
“Four years after the Kapaia swinging bridge was closed, we are still hopeful,” said Laraine Moriguchi, who owns property on the Līhu‘e side of the bridge and has been leading a citizen push to encourage the county to refurbish and reopen the bridge.
For its part, the county this week recommitted to do a feasibility study “which will look at various factors that would be involved in any work that might be done on the bridge, including: cost of repairing/restoring, structural integrity, access and compliance,” said Beth Tokioka, executive assistant to Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr.
“Once we’ve completed the study we’ll have a better idea of the various options and their associated costs,” said Tokioka.
The deadline is Aug. 15 for suggestions for properties for the county open-space commission to consider acquiring. Funds for acquisition come from annual contributions of 0.5 percent of all county real-property-tax collections.
Grove Farm owns the property on the Hanama‘ulu side of the bridge, and the west (Lihu‘e) side approach sits on part of a CPR (condominium property regime) with six owners: Moriguchi, Cindra and Michael Manera, Catherine Caycayon, David and Nina Monasevitch, Steven Matsuda and Roy Goo, said Moriguchi.
Goo owns the CPR on which the bridge sits.
In addition, Laukini Road is a private road owned by Lihu‘e Hongwanji and Goo’s CPR, she said.
“All owners are in favor of restoring the Kapaia swinging bridge and, to my knowledge, have signed an agreement with the county to allow access for the purpose of conducting a restoration feasibility study,” said Moriguchi.
Carvalho has set up a public meeting for Sept. 23 at 3 p.m., Moriguchi said.
The county Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Fund Commission 2010 annual survey is online at http://www.kauaigovonline.org/Surveys/Default.aspx. Those without computer access may call 241-4922 to get a paper copy of the survey.