The biggest single investment in recreational opportunity in Hawaii County history is coming to Lower Puna, following a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the $22.3 million Pahoa District Park.
Mayor Billy Kenoi, Councilmembers Greggor Ilagan and Zendo Kern, and county officials joined members of the Puna community to kick off the project, which will provide more recreational opportunities than ever before to the fastest growing region of Hawaii Island.
“We are committed to giving the families of Puna access to first-class recreational opportunities,” Kenoi said. “The facilities in this park will be safe places for our kids to learn good sportsmanship and teamwork, and to stay active and healthy.”
This $22.3 million, year-long project to deliver a district-level park to Lower Puna will include a covered playcourt building, two baseball fields, two multipurpose fields, a keiki playground, concession building, new comfort station, accessible walkways and ample parking areas. Contractor Nan Inc. is scheduled to start clearing and grading the site immediately.
“This wonderful sports facility is going to really, truly benefit our children,” said Kel Lee, president of the Puna Panthers Pop Warner Football Association. “It’s a dream come true for Pahoa.”
“Building this park, making this a better place for our children, is a collaborative effort,” said Kern, who represents District 5 (Puna Mauka) and remembers playing in the existing Pahoa Park as a youngster. “It was never a matter of if, and now it’s a matter of getting it done.”
Totaling more than 29 acres, the improvements will complement the park’s existing facilities that include the Pahoa Community Aquatic Center, Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, Pahoa Senior Center and Pahoa Skate Park.
“This park will be a place for our community to play, bond and build memories for generations to come,” said Ilagan, who represents District 4 (Puna Makai).
The Puna Community Development Plan, adopted by the Hawaii County Council in 2008, identified the need for a district park in Lower Puna. A comprehensive planning process involving the community, the county and project designers WCIT Architecture began in 2012 to ensure these new facilities reflect the recreational needs of Puna’s residents.