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County Buys Up Kona Land For Preservation

July 31, 2020, 6:00 AM HST
* Updated July 30, 4:42 PM
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The County of Hawai‘i, through its PONC funds, just purchased “significant preservation lands” in West Hawai‘i.

The county announced on Thursday its most recent Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Preservation (PONC) funds purchase. After years on the PONC wish list, the Puapua‘a properties located makai of Ali‘i Drive will now officially belong to the people of Hawai‘i County.

The purchase will ensure the preservation of numerous prehistoric and historic cultural sites and structures on the property, including a burial complex and the Kauakaiakaola Heiau. The Kauakaiakaola Heiau is among the most important historic and cultural sites in the state, along with other West Hawai‘i historic sites such as Keolanāhihi, Mo‘okini Heiau, and Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau.

These lands in West Hawai‘i were the home of pre-contact era Hawaiians, and their preservation will enable people of Hawai‘i today to better understand the past.

“The acquisition is the largest single funded open space acquisition in the history of the County’s Preservation Program,” said Mayor Harry Kim. “This purchase of a very significant tract of lands will safeguard so many historical treasures. My congratulations to everyone who worked so hard for this.”

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“It’s been an honor to play even a small part in bringing this auspicious purchase to fruition during my first term in office,” Hawai‘i County Council Member Rebecca Villegas. “I’ve driven past this property thousands of times and always dreamed of it becoming a park for our community. Thank you to all the hands and hearts that have worked for decades to bring this purchase to fruition. I look forward to working side by side with the lineal descendants, cultural practitioners, and other stakeholders to restore this property and preserve our coastline.”

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The $10.7 million cost for the parcels comes from 2% of real property taxes earmarked annually for the County’s Preservation Fund.

The Puapua‘a properties are comprised of approximately 12.639 acres and are located approximately two miles from Kailua Village on the makai side of Ali‘i Drive, and north of the Casa de Emdeko Condominiums, most specifically described by the following tax map key parcels:

1. 7-5-020;022 – consisting of approximately 4.2004 acres

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2. 7-5-020;024 – consisting of approximately 3.0780 acres

3. 7-5-020;028 – consisting of approximately 0.0329 acres

4. 7-5-020;034 – consisting of approximately 5.3275 acres

The PONC Fund is used to acquire land or easements for public outdoor recreation and education, including mauka/makai access, historic or culturally important areas and sites, natural resources, significant habitat or ecosystems, forests, beaches, coastal areas, agricultural lands, and watersheds.

For further information, contact Property Management at 808-961-8009 or the Department of Finance at 808-961-8234.

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