County Moving Forward With New $5.5 Million Pahoa Community Park

The Department of Parks & Recreation is moving forward with planning a new $5.5 million community park on a 56 acre parcel in Pāhoa town. On Jan. 18, members of the Puna community gathered at the Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility to talk story about the park, which will be adjacent to the Neighborhood Facility and Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center, right in the heart of Pāhoa.

Councilman Fred Blas, Parks & Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald, and Deputy Director Clayton Honma discussed the plans thus far, and opened up the floor to find out what the Puna community would like in the park.

Suggestions ranged from a perimeter trail with room for wheelchairs and bikes, to a home field for the Puna Panthers football team, to a large gathering place to hold parties, to a disc golf course, to a venue for performing arts.

“This was just the first of more community meetings to come,” said Clayton Honma, deputy director of Parks & Recreation. “We will engage the community all through the master planning process to make sure Puna gets a great park.”

Pahoa Community Meeting on the Puna Park

Parks are great ways to maintain open space and provide gathering places for the community, Mayor Kenoi said. And as the father of three children engaged in team sports, he understands the importance of parks for youth athletics. The lessons taught by achieving goals through perseverance, hard work, and collaboration as taught on the field are priceless throughout life.

“Parks are vital to safe and healthy communities,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We look forward to completing this pu‘uhonua, this safe place for the families of Puna to get away from negative influences and engage in positive activities.”

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