Ceremonies On Tap For Renovated Park Facilities
The public is invited to ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday celebrating the renovation of two park facilities in Hilo.
On Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., Mayor Billy Kenoi will recognize volunteers from the community, businesses and government who assisted in the restoration of the Kalakaua Park War Memorial Pond.
The 50,000-gallon koi pond at the makai end of the downtown Hilo park was dedicated in 1948 as a memorial of the 157 Big Island residents who died during World War II. Plaques were later added to honor veterans who lost their lives during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
County Parks Director Bob Fitzgerald said the pond had not undergone a thorough draining and cleaning since 1989.
Assisting in the project were the Big Island Water Garden Club, B&B Pumping Service, GW Construction, US Army firefighters and several county agencies. The University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center helped cared for the pond’s fish during the cleaning phase.
“We’re delighted to announce completion of this important public-private partnership that successfully restored Kalākaua Park’s unique koi pond at minimal taxpayer cost,” he said.
The park’s distinctive sundial, which was erected in 1877, was used to set the official time for maritime operations, island commerce and other activities, a county spokesman said.
On Thursday at 10 a.m., Kenoi and Fitzgerald will oversee a blessing and dedication ceremony for the $1 million upgrade to Waiakea Uka Park and Stanley Costales Gymnasium.
Improvements to the 7.7-acre park on Ainaola Drive including new bleachers, new paved walkways meeting federal accessibility mandates, a new roof for both the gym and annex, renovations to the gym’s bathrooms and repaving of the parking lot.
The work was funded through a combination of county bond proceeds and a federal community block grant. Additional improvements were done by Department of Parks and Recreation staff.
Refreshments will be served at both events.