Monday, April 13, 2009

If You Build It, They Will Come

I like this story:

Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii's Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park--for free.

Yes. Free.

Polihale State Park has been closed since December, when severe flooding destroyed an access road to the park and damaged facilities. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources estimated the damage at $4 million to fix, money the agency doesn't have. And if the repairs weren't made, some business owners faced the possibility of having to shut down.

Ivan Slack, co-owner of Napali Kayak, said his company relies solely on revenue from kayak tours and needs the state park to be open to operate. Slack and his company jumped in and donated resources because it knew that without the repairs, Napali Kayak would be in financial trouble. "If the park is not open, it would be extreme for us, to say the least," he said. "For us, it was crucial, and our survival was dependent on it. That park is the key to the sheer survival of the business."

So Slack, other business owners and locals decided not to sit on their hands and wait for state money, and, instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running on March 23. Eight days later all of the repairs were done; it was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in.

"We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part," Slack said. "Just like everyone's sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn't wait anymore."


Bina said...

It sounds just like people on Kauai. Both my ex husband are from that island. Born and raised there. (Sounds weird, huh? But I didn't know until AFTER I met second ex). Kauai is just one big family and I'm surprised at all by this.

Beth said...

Very cool! I believe it's exactly that spirit that our President is calling on when he talks about public service and volunteering.

Berry Blog said...

I'm watching the pirate situation this week and can't help noticing how the whole incident seemed nearly impossible simply because gov't had to be involved. I wondered..."who in hell is going to make a decision? Where will it come from? What official from what agency will take the bull by the horns?
I'm frankly quite surprised that captain isn't still out there floating around in that raft.

RAD said...

Mahalo (thanks) for sharing as I read about this and it brought smile to my face and heart! Good for themand what an strong message and example!