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Former Bank Building Dedicated For Use by Seniors

September 26, 2012, 10:37 AM HST
* Updated September 26, 3:36 PM
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A blessing and dedication was held Tuesday for a new county facility in North Kohala dedicated to senior citizen programs.

The building was given to the county by Bank of Hawaii after the branch was closed earlier this year. The automated teller machine and depository will remain available at the front of the building.

“The bank looked at several options, and it was so right to give this building to the county,” Bank of Hawaii Senior Vice President Roberta Chu said in a statement issued by the county. “It’s an honor for us.”

Members of the Kohala Senior Club entertained the crowd at Tuesday’s ceremony. Hawaii County photo.

Contributing to the decision was the presence of the county’s existing Kohala Senior Center across the street.

The former bank building will be used by the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the Office of Aging to augment senior citizen programs.

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“Our hearts are filled with aloha today,” said Kealoha Sugiyama, President of the Kohala Senior Club, who performed the blessing Tuesday. “It was such a treat when I was a youngster to tag along with my father or my grandfather to come and make deposits to this bank. To see it continue to live in our community is such an honor.”

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Mayor Billy Kenoi said the new facility is needed to provide services for the island’s growing kupuna population.

“We’re very thankful to the Bank of Hawai‘i for their kindness and generosity in turning over this wonderful facility for our kūpuna,” Kenoi said. “Everything we have is what we’ve learned from all our kūpuna. Our community is a special place because all of them have given so much for so long.”

Located near the Kamehameha statue on Akoni Pule Highway in Kapaau, the building was built around 1900 and purchased by Bank of Hawaii in 1922. It was renovated after being heavily damaged in the October 2006 earthquake to include a photovoltaic electrical system.

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