Hilo Bayfront Trail Project Breaks Ground
The Hilo Bayfront Trails Project broke ground Tuesday as community members and dignitaries came together for the official ceremony entering into Phase 1 of the project.
For ten years, the county and community have combined efforts to create a walking and bicycling path in Hilo that would provide a showcase of Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea.
Now, through a partnership between the Hawai’i County Department of Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit group Hilo Bayfront Trails Inc., a mile of paved trail, 12 feet in width, will line the area to allow walking, running, and bicycling and other transportation modes that are non-motorized. The project will aim to meet the varying recreational needs of the community.
According to the county, two sections that are interconnected will extend from Mo’oheau Park Bandstand to the canoe-storage area at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park. A third area will begin at the end of Kumu Street, go through the soccer fields on the mauka side of Kamehameha Avenue and end at Pauahi Street.
The National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund’s State and Local Assistance Program provided a $345,743 grant to P&R for usage in the project. An additional $25,000 from P&R’s budget were also committed to the project, which will be used to assist in the purchase of materials. The project is expected to be built using volunteer labor from members of the Hilo Bayfront Trails group.
In a 2008 recreation user survey, trail development was listed as a top priority by over half of those surveyed, 56 percent, according to the county P&R office.
The trail is projected to be completed by December 2016 and is estimated to cost $750,000, including the $370,743 in funds and $379,257 in volunteer work, and additional monetary and supply donations.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Mayor Billy Kenoi and Senators Gilbert Kahele and Lorraine Inouye, along with Hilo County Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi praised the project’s benefits. Church on a Sure Foundation Pastor Evan Carmichael delivered the prayer.