DIY Park Repairs

Community organizing


After floods ruined facilities at the Polihale State Park in Hawaii this past December, residents and business owners waited for help from the state to repair the mess. The state said the project would take two years, adding that repairs probably wouldn't begin until the following summer. So citizens pulled an impressive do-it-yourself job and completed the estimated $4 million in repairs themselves. It took them eight days.

Residents depend on the park's tourism for much of their income, so the community project was undertaken out of necessity. The locals donated generators, trucks, cement mixers, and other equipment, plus their own manpower, to the task. "We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part," Ivan Slack, coowner of a kayak tour company, told CNN.com. "Just like everyone's sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn't wait anymore."

Residents had to wait a bit longer than eight days for the government to certify that their one-lane DIY bridge was safe. Now that the structure has been approved, businesses are spending time waiting on their customers instead of waiting on the authorities.