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Park, Playground Restoration Effort in Kona Seeks Help From Community

October 18, 2021, 8:52 AM HST
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Kamakana Playground in Harold H. Higashihara Park. Early Childhood Education Zone photo.

The Friends of Harold Higashihara Park are looking for volunteers to contribute to a community work day scheduled for next month.

Work to improve the park, located in mauka Kona, will begin at 7:30 am and continue through 3 pm on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Both volunteer workers and equipment are being sought by the group as the park approaches its 25th anniversary next year.

The Lions Club of Kona has cared for Kamakana Playground at Harold Higashihara Park since they opened in 1997, and built the picnic pavilions at the Ka’u end of the park. This year, the Club formally joined forces with the County Department of Parks and Recreation by forming the Friends of the Park group. They are now moving forward with plans to repair and improve the playground and park, with visions of a skate park in the future, according to a press release.

The park will be closed to the public on the scheduled work day of Nov. 6. Cleaning, landscaping and sealing wood will be the primary focus of the first work day, and quarterly work days will be planned for the future. 

Made primarily of old-growth yellow pine, specially purchased and shipped to Hawai´i, the structures at Kamakana have held up well in the wet mauka climate, the release said. But there are places that need repair. 

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Leathers and Associates, which has been contracted to advise stakeholders on the best path forward, will prepare a detailed report of their findings and recommendations, addressing any immediate safety and compliance issues, short-term priority repair recommendations, and recommendations for long-term maintenance and replacement to maintain the playground for years to come.

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Needed for the upcoming work day are air compressors, pressure washers and generators to help pressure wash sidewalks and pavilion roofs, clean moss and grime off of structures, clean up garden areas and lay weed block and chips, fix loose fence panels, and blow dirt and spiderwebs off structures, among other tasks.

Friends of the Park said they are hoping for 70-80 volunteers who will work in separate groups of 10 people or fewer to comply with COVID-19 protocols. Snacks and a light lunch will be provided, and all volunteers will be eligible to win prizes at the end of the day.

Those interested in participating may call or text Mary at 808-339-8290, Debbie at 808-938-1987, or Alayna at 808-987-6519.

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