CIP Funding Released for Land Acquisition by Waimea Schools
Gov. David Ige has released $1.6 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the Hawai’i Department of Education’s land acquisition of Parcel 54 from Parker Ranch Land Trust.
The release of these funds will allow for the development of permanent parking and student drop-off area by Waimea Schools and Public Conversion Charter School.
Parker Ranch has allowed the school and community to use the gravel lot for at least the past 15 years for school parking and also for overflow parking for the adjacent Kamuela Post Office, Kahilu Theatre and Mana Christian Ohana.
Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who represents Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikōloa, Kona, described the area explained during normal times prior to the pandemic, dozens of parents use this area to park and walk their preschool children into classes, and then either stay for parenting programs or have to return a few hours later to pick up the little ones. In addition, school staff must use this parking area.
Ige initially released the CIP funding in May 2019. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project’s timeline was pushed back and funding was due to lapse in June 2020.
Inouye worked with District Rep. David Tarnas and legislative colleagues to re-appropriate the funds during the 2020 session to ensure the parcel of land immediately adjacent to Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools and U.S. Post Office would be secured in perpetuity to provide urgently needed safe parking for the school-community.
Inouye expressed her gratitude to Ige and her legislative colleagues and DOE for recognizing the urgency of this land acquisition.
“More recently, the Ranch deserves our thanks for patiently allowing us to go through the time-consuming process of securing legislative funding, negotiating purchase of the land and conducting the required due diligence,” Inouye said.
Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch, Inc., said Parker Ranch supports the idea of selling this parcel to DOE.
“We initiated this conversation with DOE about five years ago because of the circulation issues at the main intersection in town,” Kuyper said. “Peak traffic coincides with school hours and the problems were spilling out onto Māmalahoa Highway. The traffic was particularly troubling for the school related commute in the mornings and afternoons. We think this parcel should be incorporated into the school’s infrastructure plan.”