Today in West Hawaii history | May 4

May 4, 1984: The 1984 state Legislature appropriates $50,000 for a park study of an area in South Kona and Ka’u, including Kapua, that is teeming with ancient Hawaiian sites. The money is part of $640,000 in appropriations for capital improvement projects. If released, the $50,000 will be used by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to study, design and plan a state natural recreational area at Kapua, Honomalino, Okoe, Kalanamauna and Manuka. The department formally recognized the park concept in the late 1970s.

May 4, 1994: The lawyer of a landowner whose property is being considered for the new Konawaena Elementary School says he questions the commitment the state has to building the facility. Randy Vitousek, attorney for Jack Greenwell, said it does not make sense to him that construction funds were cut for the school if there is such an urgency to build it. The new school has been proposed for a 9-acre site that is now a pasture on the makai side of Mamalahoa Highway, just south of the intersection of the highway and Konawaena Road. The state would like to build a school large enough to handle 930 students.

Supporters of the proposed Kukuihaele Amanresort — a $15 million hotel and residential project slated for former sugarcane land — assembled en masse May 3 to testify before the Hawaii County Council. More than 40 donned T-shirts and proclaimed “eco-tourism means jobs for Hamakua” in a show of support before the council’s Planning Committee. Committee members are considering recommendations on five rezoning bills that would reclassify 98 acres of mostly agricultural land to single-family residential, resort hotel and one-acre agriculture.

The National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority applies to amend a conservation district use permit that will allow it to begin operations on an adjacent 82-acre parcel. NELHA has applied to amend the permit it holds for operations at Keahole Point to expand to the property it acquired in a land swap with a developer.

May 4, 2004: The Sierra Club said a series of votes last week by the Hawaii County Council will determine the legacy of this group of lawmakers. Pointing to the four “pivotal” votes, Sierra Club spokesman David Kimo Frankel said the council decision will dramatically affect the health of the Big Island. The council will cast votes of Clifto’s Kona Coast, solid waste disposal, required connections to sewer lines along shoreline ares in Kona and Hilo and developer subsidies for hookups to sewer lines in Kona and Hilo. Calling the meeting “historic,” Sierra Club leaders pledged to hold council members accountable for their votes. “The votes on May 5 will constitute this council’s legacy,” said Frankel. “We will remind everyone how their council members voted on these key environmental issues.”

Kohala Mountain Road reopens to traffic following a lengthy closure after heavy rains and flooding on March 15 washed away part of the highway, creating a 40-foot-wide by 30-foot-deep gap.