Another park plan to begin


Planning is under way for the long-sought Kealakehe Regional Park, and Hawaii County and project consultant Kimura International are going to the community to develop a final plan for the area.

The park would be located between Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Ane Keohokalole Highway and Kealakehe Parkway on about 190 acres of land the county owns there, which originally had been intended as a community golf course.

The master plan workshops will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the West Hawaii Civic Center. Participants will evaluate preliminary plans and provide input on the final master plan. On Saturday, an open house will be held.

Kimura plans to submit to the county a final master plan in spring 2013. It received a $277,000 county contract to develop the plan.

Those looking to take part in the three-day discussion must to register by Tuesday evening by visiting kealakeheregionalpark.com.

During a September public information meeting, residents said they imagined a regional park featuring not just the usual sporting facilities and fields, but splash parks, disc golf courses and a dog park. Others looked to concessions and other economic drivers.

The Kealakehe Regional Park would likely include things that could not fit at the Old Kona Airport Park, which the county and planner Kimura began work on in 2009. There is currently no money secured for actual park construction.

The county has tried, unsuccessfully, to build the park for nearly 40 years, according to studies and newspaper articles dating back to 1976. In 1982, former Parks and Recreation Director Milton Hakoda declared the project “all but dead,” a West Hawaii Today article said.

In 1985, according to the planners, the land was proposed for the Kealakehe Sports Complex with a gym, a pool, concert hall, soccer field and many other amenities. By 1990, the land was proposed as an 18-hole public golf course and effluent disposal area. Neither was implemented.

For more information, visit the project’s website at kealakeheregionalpark.com.

Reporter Erin Miller contributed to this report.