Magic Sands bathroom, ramp 90% finished; La’aloa project behind schedule

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A tourist walks on Magic Sands Beach Park in Kona in front of the recently constructed accessibility ramp. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)

At Magic Sands Beach Park along Aliʻi Drive in Kailua-Kona, the accessibility improvements project that includes a new ramp and comfort station with showers and toilets is about 90% completed.

After the comfort station gets its final inspection, the temporary showers and toilets will be removed from the park and the remaining section of walkway and related grading work will be completed, said James Komata, park planner with the Hawai’i County Department of Parks and Recreation.

No date has been set for when the ramp and comfort station will be open to the public. In the meantime, crews also are installing signs, painting and striping, and working on landscape and maintenance, Komata said.

Throughout the project that began in October, Magic Sandsʻ white sand beach — which is heavily used by tourists, body surfers and body boarders — has remained open


The construction has gone smoothly, although bones were discovered during the excavation. An investigation by archaeologists determined the bones were not human and the project continued, Komata said. 

  • The new comfort station near Magic Sands and La’aloa Parks in Kona. Officials say the project is 90% complete. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • New signs will be going up in the La’aloa Park. Officials say the project is slightly behind schedule. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • Officials say La’aloa Park will remain closed as the project is behind schedule. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • Officials say La’aloa Park will remain closed as the project is slightly behind schedule. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • The recently constructed accessibility ramp by Magic Sands Beach Park in Kona. May 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)

The project was slightly over budget, with an additional $69,487 needed to complete it (4.8% of the original $1.44 million contract), Komata said.

The La’aloa portion of the beach park, located to the left of the dry stack? wall, has been closed during its separate $706,824 preservation improvements project. It includes preserving sacred heiaus (ancient Hawaiian temples) with a buffer of native plants, adding interpretive signs and a new parking lot with 11 stalls.

This project is running slightly behind schedule, but Komata did not provide why.


The common driveway that serves both parts of the park, and the parking lots, are still closed.

In the current design, exiting Magic Sands’ accessible parking stall relies on the completion of the La‘aloa parking lot and exit driveway due to the intended one-way flow of traffic, Komata said.

Both projects started in October after being on hold for five years to deal with the demands of the State Historic Preservation Division, other groups and community members about the protection of sacred heiaus and other historical sites at the adjacent beach parks.

According to a 2007 preservation plan, there are several historical sites at Magic Sands Beach Park, including the Haukālua Heiau, a habitation platform, historic wall remnant, furo (spring), location of former Kūʻula (fishing shrine), location of canoe landing, papamū and poho palu (bait mortars).


Isemoto Contracting Company is overseeing both projects.

Damon Soderlund, an island resident since 1997, was visiting the beach Thursday with his wife and said he was surprised the new bathroom ended up being so small, but thinks the wheelchair ramp “will be nice for some people.”

He said he used to come to Magic Sands all the time as a kid but doesn’t come much anymore because of all the activity and the homeless problem.

Roman De-Leon, a regular body boarder at the beach, said: “We’re happy they decided to improve our park and are thankful to all of those who contributed and are looking forward to it to being a beacon of memories for years to come.

Capt. Ricky Alvarez with the Hawaiʻi Fire Department Ocean Safety Division said ocean safety has been at that park for around 37 years.

“To see what it is today is very cool,” he said. “It builds up the community and brings people back to the park and gives a place for families to use restrooms and to shower off.

“It looks clean and nice and I am thankful for the people who put their time and energy into it. They did it where it compliments the land and the ocean and tried to keep it original as possible. We appreciate that.”

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