Parks and Recreation asks for Alii Kai park permit


Two years after officials thought it could be finished, Hawaii County is finally taking steps toward building the Alii Kai subdivision park.

The Parks and Recreation Department last month filed a special management area use permit, one of the requirements for building the park, which has been on the books for more than 40 years.

The county cleared environmental hurdles for the park in late 2010, with the completion of the environmental assessment. Former Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald said in December 2010 he expected the park to go out for bids in early 2011 and be wrapped up by September 2011.

It didn’t happen.

One reason for the delay, Park Planner James Komata said, was the project’s design took a little longer than expected.

“The priorities of projects had shifted a little bit,” Komata added.

Although planning documents reference a multiphased project, Komata said department officials are hopeful they will be able to complete the park in one phase.

The estimated $2 million project includes grading, planting, installation of accessible walkways, a playground and a comfort station. The land is 1.6 acres within the Alii Kai subdivision, accessible by Pakalana and Lehua roads.

The special management area permit is for projects within a certain distance of the shoreline. The park is more than 1,000 feet from the coast and is not expected to impact the shore, Parks and Recreation documents said. The next step, after getting the special management area permit, will be to file for building permits and solicit construction bids, Komata said. Once work begins, he said he expected it to take about a year to complete.

County officials, in the environmental assessment, said they expected the park to serve the neighborhood, not the broader community as a regional park. The park was not meant to host organized sporting events.

“This park has been tailored to the desires of the community,” Komata said.

Developers initially promised the park to homeowners more than four decades ago, but when the subdivision plans were submitted in 1959 to the county Board of Supervisors, the board did not make the park a condition of subdivision approval, though original plans said there would be a park. A 1991 county memo said without that condition, the county could not compel developers to ever build the park.

County officials began taking steps to build the park in 2008, with two community meetings in 2009 to gather residents’ preferences.