Below is an article from the Garden Island Newspaper regarding the expansion of Blackpot Beach Park:

Council approves Black Pot expansion

NAWILIWILI — Kaua‘i residents received an early Christmas gift Wednesday in the form of a three-quarter acre parcel of land to expand Black Pot Park in Hanalei. But the mood was tempered by the recent death of one of the principle architects who made the multi-party deal possible.

Several members of the Open Space Commission attended the meeting at Council Chambers in Nawiliwili as the Kaua‘i County Council unanimously approved the conveyance to expand the popular North Shore park.

“This is a day for celebration for all of Kaua‘i,” said Commissioner Jean Souza, explaining that the acquisition of the land to expand the park is the first purchase using money from the commission’s fund that voters approved by charter amendment in 2002. “Hopefully it’s the start of many to come.”

Jennifer Luck, executive director of the Kaua‘i Public Land Trust, said the acquisition of the land would not have happened without the help of the late Dr. Gary Blaich, a former KPLT vice president who died Nov. 25 at age 64.

“He had the vision and encouraged the staff and the board of the KPLT to move in this direction,” Luck said. “If we ever got frustrated or worried about attaining funding, his can-do attitude and his tireless spirit and his vision and passion for land conservation kept us all going.”

Council Chair Jay Furfaro said Blaich “guided the ship right to the ultimate goal, which was making the expanded Black Pot possible.”

Council newcomer Nadine Nakamura said the park expansion was a “great example of public, private, and non-profit collaboration.”

Government working hand-in-hand with the community to achieve a joint vision for Kaua‘i is what the public “really wants to see,” she said.

“I just want to say that I’m so happy,” said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, adding that “this vision has been very long-standing. To see it come to fruition is a wonderful, wonderful thing.”

“This is the celebration of kokua, everybody working together,” Furfaro said.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in an e-mail Wednesday evening that the administration is grateful for the partnership with the state and KPLT, which was instrumental in the acquisition.

“We also express our gratitude to Mr. (John) Hodge for providing the county this opportunity to expand one of the most beautiful beach parks in the world,” Carvalho said.

Hodge sold the land to the county for $3 million. The county contributed $800,000, the commission’s fund provided $350,000, and KPLT secured $1.85 million from the state.

Carvalho also praised Blaich’s advocacy and leadership, “which contributed greatly to this effort.”

A roll call vote showed unanimous support for Carvalho’s recommendation to the council to approve the conveyance. One by one, councilmembers voted for the addition to the park. A long and loud ovation followed the vote.

There will be a memorial celebration for Blaich on Saturday morning at a location yet to be determined.

Léo Azambuja – The Garden Island

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