East Hawaii News

Approvals Given for Pahoa Park Plan and Funding

January 15, 2014, 12:31 PM HST
* Updated January 15, 12:33 PM
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Pahoa’s recreational facilities should be seeing significant improvements beginning this year.

A master plan and environmental study for expansion of the Pahoa Park have recently been given the go-ahead.

The finding of no significant impact for the project was issued last month by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The entire park encompasses 71 acres in the Lower Puna town, including 56 acres acquired in 2002.

Some existing facilities will remain, such as the pool, skatepark, community center and senior center.

This map from the master plan shows the Pahoa park's existing facilities (click to enlarge).

This map from the master plan shows the Pahoa park’s existing facilities (click to enlarge).

In the project’s first phase, the dilapidated basketball courts will be removed and a variety of new facilities added, including a covered play court for basketball and volleyball, two baseball fields, an expanded playground and three new restrooms.

The master plan prepared by the Honolulu-based planning firm PBR Hawaii noted the existing play field is often not usable because of drainage problems.

Pahoa averages nearly 137 inches of rain annually, which is the impetus for the covered play area, which is also called for in the county’s General Plan.

According to the project’s master plan, subsequent phases include additional playing fields, including a track or multi-purpose field, and community facilities that could include a performing arts center, amphitheater and library.

It said the entire park is to be connected with a network of pedestrian paths, “fitness stations,” and covered pavilions and picnic areas.

Mayor Billy Kenoi earmarked $20 million for the park’s initial phase in the county’s capital improvement budget, which was passed recently by the County Council.

The location of the Pahoa park (click to enlarge). PBR Pahoa Park Expansion Master Plan image.

The location of the Pahoa park (click to enlarge). PBR Pahoa Park Expansion Master Plan image.

The master plan estimated the first phase would cost $25.3 million.

The CIP bonds still must be floated and bids solicited. The latter will partially dictate the scope of the first phase, said P&R spokesman Jason Armstrong.

Work on the park is expected to begin sometime this year.

“This is going to be a first-class facility in Pahoa,” Armstrong said. “We’re excited about expanding the recreational opportunities in the island’s fastest-growing district.”

The total cost of the project is estimated at $54 million.

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