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Mayor Kim Takes Oath of Office – Outlines Past Accomplishments

Mayor Harry Kim took the “Oath of Office” at the Hawaii County Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, December 5th at the Hilo Civic Center.

Soon after, the Hawaii County website changed to reflect the new mayor’s vision with a statement from him on the side of the website along with a couple announcements talking about what he accomplished the previous time he was in office:

The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.

Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times

In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:

  • 3% cap on increase in value per year
  • Higher exemption based on % of value
  • Improved Homeowner Dedication program

Also proposed were revisions to agriculture tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:

  • Created and proposed funding reserves
  • Created “Rainy Day” Fund
  • Disaster & Emergency Fund
  • We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.

In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.

Environment

HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.

Recyling

  • Hired first Recycling Coordinator
  • Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
  • Established at 19 transfer stations

Reuse Center

  • First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003

Hilo Landfill

  • Increased life by up to 10 years

Scrap metal

  • Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles

Programs & Initiatives

2005 General Plan

  • Included “important ag lands” designation
  • Community Development Plans

Free bus rides

An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things

Aging and Disability Resource Center

First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility

Community Development Plans

Initiated & adopted

  • Kona (2005-2008)
  • Puna (2006-2008)
  • North and South Kohala (2007-2008)

Shoreline public access

  • Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
  • Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
  • Kohanaiki compromise, new park
  • Donation of Hakalau Mill site
  • Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
  • Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
  • Waipio Ranger Program

“Concurrency”

Concept introduced in 2004

Fiber optic

Upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic

Waste to Energy

Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.

Public Safety

During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially
in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:

  • Police – Added 143 new positions
  • Fire – Added 141 new positions

Buildings

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
  • Aupuni Center (1)
  • Pahoa Fire Station (2)
  • Pahoa Police Station (4)
  • County Building Renovation (2)
  • East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
  • Makalei Fire Station Site (6)

Roads

  • Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
  • Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
  • Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
  • Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
  • Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
  • Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
  • Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
  • Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
  • Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
  • Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
  • Puako Escape Route (1)
  • Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)

Parks

  • Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
  • Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
  • Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
  • Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
  • Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)

Other (Managed by DWS)

  • HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
  • Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
  • Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)

Infrastructure Key

  1. Planned, funded, construction complete
  2. Planned, funded, construction started
  3. Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
  4. Site identified and acquired, planning phase
  5. Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
  6. Site identified, in negotiations

Civic Projects:

Kona Community Development Plan (CDP)

Initiated the General Plan’s intent of community development plans that provide a forum for community input into managing
growth and coordinating delivery of government services.

  • 2005: Kona selected as the first of seven geographic districts to begin the process of creating a CDP.

    The process involved hundreds of meetings and thousands of individuals.

  • 2008: Kona CDP adopted by ordinance, and the work of the Action Committee continues.

West Hawai‘i Civic Center

Identified the need to bring County services together in one place and prioritized the construction of a new West Hawai‘i civic center. Extensive community input guided the design of the facility as a “gathering place”, resulting in an inviting and energy-efficient civic center that received LEED Silver certification.

  • 2002: Site selected; land acquired from State by E.O. 3952
  • 2005: Contract awarded for design and community input
  • 2008: $50.5M of County funds committed for design/build contract; groundbreaking in October
  • 2011: Construction completed

Road Projects

The following projects were initiated by the Kim Administration and were in various stages of completion by the end of 2008:

Keāhole to Hōnaunau Regional Circulation Plan:

Completed in 2003, this plan comprehensively analyzed options to address the growing commuter traffic from Ka’u and South Kona traveling through North Kona. The recommendations were incorporated into the Kona CDP and is the foundation for
Kona road projects.

Ane Keohokalole Highway:

The Keāhole to Kailua Development Plan introduced the concept of a Mid-Level Road in 1991. In 2007 started engineering and an environmental assessment. In 2008 the Kona CDP officially recognized this road as a priority. These actions positioned
this project to qualify for federal stimulus funding.

Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road:

This road connects the Villages of La‘i ‘Ōpua, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, and the Kealakehe houselots to reduce the travel times for school children. In 2007 secured funding and started construction.

Kuakini Highway Improvements:

This project widened Kuakini Highway from two to four lanes from Palani Road to Hualālai Street. Weekly meetings were held among the contractor, Public Works staff, and the community. Completed in 2006.

Palani Road Safety Improvements at Kealaka‘a Street:

This project realigns Kealaka‘a Street to intersect with Palani Road and Palihiolo Street with a traffic light. In 2006 funds secured and construction started.

La‘aloa Avenue:

This project improves mauka-makai connectivity between Ali‘i Drive and Kuakini Highway for traffic flow and emergency evacuation purposes. In 2004 secured funds for engineering, environmental assessment, and land acquisition. In 2008 final environmental
assessment culminated months of meetings with the community; funding secured for construction.

Māmalahoa Bypass:

Negotiated with the Hokuli‘a developer to grant an easement to the County for the use of the Māmalahoa Bypass on a limited basis for southbound afternoon traffic. Introduced amendments to the rezoning ordinance and traffic code to allow use of Haleki‘i Street as a connector prior to the opening of entire bypass to Nāpō‘opo‘o, and specify improvements to Ali‘i Drive and Haleki‘i Street to accommodate the increased traffic.

Traffic Flow Improvements:

Completed a number of smaller projects to improve traffic flow on existing streets — Hina Lani/Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, right turn lane; Hina Lani/Māmalahoa Highway, traffic signal; Kaiminani/ Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Kaiminani/Māmalahoa Highway, right turn lanes; various improvements to Māmalahoa Highway, Honalo to Captain Cook.

Housing, Water, & Public Safety Projects

“A Friendly Place” for Homeless:

When previous attempts to locate a homeless service center and shelter faced community resistance, the Administration relocated a County baseyard in the Kailua Industrial area to build a homeless intake and service center. The structure was donated by developer Stanford Carr.

Emergency Housing for Homeless:

The Administration initiated a homeless shelter on the Friendly Place site. In 2008 a partnership between the County, State and HUD allowed construction to go forward.

Kaloko Housing Program:

This project provided decent, safe and sanitary housing and support services to qualified homeless families with children. This was an urgent need due to the pending closure of the Kawaihae transitional housing. In 2006 secured the site by working with the private developer of the Kaloko Industrial Park, TSA Corporation, to acquire eight acres of land along Hina Lani Street.

Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water System Improvement District:

Responded to a community’s outcry for assistance through an innovative partnering of County and federal resources. This project constructed a County dedicable water system serving 437 Kona households to replace aging private water systems and leakage-prone
“spaghetti lines”.

Mākālei Fire Station:

Upon determining a previous site as too costly and not suitable, in 2007 secured a site donated by a landowner with assistance of Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Lynch. In 2008 Final EA published.

Hawaii County Entrepreneurship Program Accepting Applications

entreThe County of Hawai‘i Business Resource Center, a program of the Department of Research and Development, is accepting applications to the second cohort of its Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program which begins on January 6, 2017. This free program is part of the County’s ongoing efforts to promote and support local economic development.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come-first served basis for up to 25 people. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Anyone interested in applying can download complete application materials at the Department’s website http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/research-and-development/ or by picking up a copy in either of the Department’s Hilo and Kailua-Kona offices.

Accepted applicants are expected to: participate in three four- to six-hour workshops which will be held on three Saturdays in Hilo and Kailua-Kona; participate in weekly online learning sessions; and to develop a business plan concept during the course of the three-month program. Additional requirements can be found in the program materials posted on the R&D website.

The Hawai‘i County Entrepreneurship Program will link participants to leaders from Hawaii County’s business community, financial institutions, government agencies, and business development organizations to provide guidance and valuable connections to resources that will help them build their business plan. This program will help participants strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and create opportunities for their future.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth Dykstra at (808) 961-8035 or Elizabeth.Dykstra@hawaiicounty.gov

Improvements to Mauna Kea Recreation Area Unveiled

Located near the 34-mile marker of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway at the center of Hawaiʻi Island, Mauna Kea Recreation Area is the only rest stop for many miles in either direction. On July 1, 2014, County assumed management of the former Mauna Kea State Recreation Area from the State of Hawai‘i and immediately commenced with extensive renovations.

mauna-kea-park-entranceUse of the park has continued to increase since the Kenoi administration began improving the facilities. Since assuming management of Mauna Kea Recreation Area, the County has invested over $11 million in improvements.

“When you ask for something, local style, there’s kuleana that comes with that,” Mayor Kenoi said in reference to the expectation that the County would greatly improve the area once management was transferred from the State. “How dare us let our kupuna travel 60, 70 miles with no place to wash hands or use bathroom? No place for our children to stop, laugh and play?”

mauna-kea-park-bathroomsSpeakers at today’s ceremony included Mayor Billy Kenoi and State Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele, the son and successor of the late Senator Gil Kahele, who along with Senator Mālama Solomon led the charge at the State Capitol to turn the park over to the County. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed an executive order to do so in 2014.

The first wave of work included lighting enhancements, removal of dead trees that posed a fire hazard, fumigation, and installation of new picnic areas. Those improvements were completed in-house by County plumbers, electricians, tree trimmers, grounds crews, and equipment operators from the Departments of Public Works and Parks & Recreation.

In Summer 2015, a new playground was dedicated and a new comfort station was opened for the many cross-island travelers that use the park’s facilities.

mauna-kea-park-playgroundThis latest completed phase of work included repairs and improvements to the cabins, dining hall, and other facilities as well as new roadways, walkways, walking paths, fitness equipment, lighting, and other amenities. GW Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the work.

The Department of Parks & Recreation expects to open Mauna Kea Recreation Area’s cabins for overnight stays in January 2017. For more information, call the department at 961-8311.

Hawai‘i County’s Magic of the Season Open House

The public is invited to Hawai‘i County’s Magic of the Season Open House that will be held 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, December 12, through Friday, December 16, at the Hawai‘i County Building in Hilo.

christmas-at-the-county-2016County volunteers will provide refreshments and light pupu, offer holiday activities, and spread cheer so families may enjoy a safe, community-oriented event. Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning performers Mark Yamanaka and Darlene Ahuna will be joined by the Hawai‘i County Band, hula dancers and other exciting performers.

The Magic of the Season also features dozens of trees that County employees have decorated. Members of the public are encouraged to stop by the County Building, located at 25 Aupuni Street in Hilo, weekdays from at 8 a.m. to enjoy the festive trees.

All activities and entertainment are free.

The following is the schedule of nightly performers:

Monday, December 12

  • Christy Lassiter Trio
  • Lori Lei’s Hula Studio
  • Times Five

Tuesday, December 13

  • Komakakino
  • Kolea
  • Average Joe

Wednesday, December 14

  • Randy Lorenzo & Friends
  • Vaughn Valentino
  • Mark Yamanaka

Thursday, December 15

  • Darlene Ahuna
  • Sarah Bethany Band
  • Hawai‘i County Band

Friday, December 16

  • Kris Fuchigami
  • Hālau O Kou Lima Nani E
  • Delis Estabillio & Friends

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or Jason.Armstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Hawaii County Celebrates New Micro Units to Address Chronically Homeless

Representatives from social service agencies joined Mayor Billy Kenoi and Council Chair Dru Mamo Kanuha today for a ceremony to dedicate Hale Kīkaha, the County of Hawaiʻi’s newest housing project with 23 micro units to address a critical need in Kailua-Kona, particularly amongst the chronically homeless.

micro-unitsNumbers of homeless are increasing statewide. The January 2016 point-in-time count showed nearly 1,400 homeless people on Hawaiʻi Island, an increase of 10% from 2015. Of those people, about 500 were unsheltered in West Hawaiʻi.

“Our families who are homeless need a sense that they have a chance. They can believe that because they can sleep in a clean, safe place,” Mayor Kenoi said. “We’re creating a puʻuhonua, a safe haven, a place of refuge where people can walk around with dignity and respect.”

The $2.5 million Hale Kīkaha is on Pāwai Place in Kailua-Kona’s industrial area, adjacent to the area’s emergency homeless shelter. Hale Kīkaha will provide on-site wraparound social services to residents to increase their chances of success.

Kīkaha means to soar, and the name Hale Kīkaha represents the County’s hope for and commitment to the residents that will call the project home. Design and engineering work was done in-house. General contractor Kona-Kaʻū Construction and a number of sub-contractors completed the project in nine months.

The County recognizes that housing is a primary need, especially in West Hawaiʻi. The County has worked to address homelessness through the nationally recognized best practice Housing First model with a number of projects during Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

West Hawaii Emergency Shelter

Recognizing the most immediate need, the County constructed the $1.8 million, 31-bed West Hawaiʻi Emergency Shelter and opened it in November 2010.

The Homes of Ulu Wini provides 96 units for families, a mix of transitional housing and affordable rentals for families with low-moderate income, or no higher than 80% of the area median income. Construction of the $23.7 million project’s phases were completed throughout Mayor Kenoi’s administration.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

The Homes at Ulu Wini.

Kamakoa Nui offers affordable home ownership to working families along the Kohala Coast. The Kenoi administration restarted a previous attempt to build workforce housing in Waikoloa Village, and the first families were welcomed into their homes in 2013. To date, all 91 lots at Kamakoa Nui have been sold and 69 homes have been built. Construction continues on the remaining homes, which include six participants in a self-help housing program by Habitat for Humanity. Kamakoa Nui offers fee-simple home ownership to families between 100-140% of the area median income.

A home at Kamakoa Nui.

A home at Kamakoa Nui

In addition to County-built housing, the Office of Housing & Community Development administers programs to assist tenants renting existing housing. Over 2,000 people and families receive over $14 million in assistance every year through Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and the Housing Choice Voucher programs.

“We are measured not by what we do for those who have the most, we are measured by what we do for those who have the least,” Mayor Kenoi said.

County of Hawaii Inaugural Ceremonies Information

County of Hawaiʻi Executive and Legislative Inaugural Ceremonies for the newly elected Mayor, Prosecuting Attorney, and Council Members will be held at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium, 323 Manono Street, Hilo, at 12 Noon on Monday, December 5, 2016.  The public is invited to attend.

2012 Hawaii County Inauguration.

2012 Hawaii County Inauguration.

The program will begin with a prelude of selections by Bandmaster Paul Arceo and the Hawaiʻi County Band.  The procession will be accompanied by the Hawaiʻi County Band.  The Administration of Oath will be administered by the Honorable Ronald Ibarra, Judge, Third Circuit Court.

J.E. Orozco will serve as master of ceremonies.  Address will be given by the Honorable Harry Kim, Mayor; the Honorable Mitch Roth, Prosecuting Attorney and the Honorable Valerie T. Poindexter, Chairperson, Hawaiʻi County Council.

There will be a Presentation of Colors by Hilo High School JROTC Color Guards, and Waiakea High School students will perform musical renderings.  The National and State Anthems will be sung by Alexandra Roth accompanied by the Hawaiʻi County Band.  Senior Pastor Sheldon Lacsina of New Hope – Hilo will provide the Invocation, and the Benediction will be provided by Kahu Charles Kama, of Hale Pule Ke Ola Hou.

Na Leo O Hawaiʻi will televise the inauguration live on Channel 55.

2017 Closure Schedule Announced for Select Hawaii County Parks

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces its 2017 closure schedule for ‘Āhalanui Park, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park, Kahalu‘u Beach Park and Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach. Monthly closures are necessary to maintain and repair high-use parks without exposing park patrons to potential hazards associated with large-scale maintenance work.

hot-pondsLocated in Puna, ‘Āhalanui Park will be closed between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, with the exception of the October closure, which will occur on the third Wednesday of that month. The closure dates are:

  • January 11
  • February 8
  • March 8
  • April 12
  • May 10
  • June 14
  • July 12
  • August 9
  • September 13
  • October 18 (third Wednesday due to schools’ Fall Break)
  • November 8
  • December 13

Located in Puna, Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park will be closed on the third Wednesday of each month and reopened at 1 p.m. on the following day. Overnight camping permits will not be issued for the night before each closure date. The closure dates are:

  • January 18
  • February 15
  • March 15
  • April 19
  • May 17
  • June 21
  • July 19
  • August 16
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15
  • December 20

Located in North Kona, Kahalu‘u Beach Park will be closed until 10 a.m. on the first or second Tuesday of each month. The closure dates are:

  • January 10
  • February 7
  • March 7
  • April 4
  • May 2
  • June 6
  • July 11
  • August 1
  • September 5
  • October 3
  • November 7
  • December 5

Located in South Kohala, Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach will be closed all day on the following dates:

  • January 11-12
  • February 8-9
  • March 8-9
  • April 12-13
  • May 9-11
  • June – No scheduled closures
  • July – No scheduled closures
  • August – No scheduled closures
  • September 12-14
  • October 11-12
  • November 8-9
  • December 13-14

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its understanding and cooperation during these temporary closures.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or Jason.Armstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Temporary Residential Tire Amnesty Collection Program Now in Effect

County of Hawaii’s continues “Fight the Bite!” campaign efforts at the onset of wet season

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recently reported that this year’s wet season probabilities are favoring near to above average rainfall through next spring.  Because rain water can collect in spare tires and create mosquito breeding environments, the County of Hawaii is encouraging tire clean up in our communities. The County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management is now accepting tires at full-service transfer stations (those that are open seven days of the week) for the month of November only.  For more information on the Wet Season Outlook, click on the following link: NOAA Media Advisory.

mosquito-biteThis temporary tire amnesty program is an addition to ongoing, proactive mosquito control efforts managed by the recently staffed County Vector Control team that sprays and conducts surveys at County facilities on a regular basis.

For this new program, Hawaii Island households may bring in up to four (4) passenger vehicle, motorcycle or ATV tires to any of the County of Hawai‘i Solid Waste Division’s Recycling & Transfer Stations which are open on a seven (7) day per week basis, during normal operating hours, see below.

Transfer Station Location Hours of Collection                   
Hāwī Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Hilo Daily 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Honoka‘a Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Kea‘au Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Kealakehe Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Keauhou Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Pāhoa Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Waimea Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Wai‘ōhinu Daily 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For directions to the locations listed above please click on the following link: Map and Directions to County of Hawaii Solid Waste Facilities

Customers should locate the Solid Waste Facility Attendant (SWFA) on duty (they will have a fluorescent safety vest on) and advise the SWFA that they have acceptable tires for recycling, the SWFA will instruct the customer where to properly place the tires.  Tires dropped off before or after normal operating hours will be considered illegal dumping.

In order to fairly serve the public and ensure that one customer doesn’t overload the site and unnecessarily prevent other customers from participating in the temporary collection, there is a 4 (acceptable) tire limit per day per vehicle. Tires should be empty of any liquids, dirt or any other foreign material before bringing them in for disposal.

Tires from businesses, commercial haulers, non-profits or farms; including industrial tires (e.g. backhoe, tractor, forklift & etc.) will not be accepted.  Businesses, commercial haulers, non-profits or farms can contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense for options to dispose of their tires.

This Fight the Bite Temporary Residential Tire Amnesty Collection Program may be extended if conditions warrant.

For more information on ways you can “Fight the Bite” go to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health information website: fightthebitehawaii.com

Southern Segment of Kona’s Mamalahoa Bypass To Open Nov. 4

The long-awaited 2.2-mile, $27.9 million southern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass, which will provide relief to motorists traveling in South Kona, will open to the public on Friday, November 4.

mamalahoa-bypass

Photo by Aaron Stene via Department of Public Works.

The bypass is located midway between the shoreline and Māmalahoa Highway. The northern segment of the bypass starts at the southern edge of Keauhou and runs approximately 3.5 miles to the bottom of Haleki‘i Street below Kealakekua’s Kona Scenic subdivision.

This new southern segment extends the roadway, which the Hawai’i County Council named Ali’i Drive, another 2.2 miles from Kealakekua to a new signalized intersection with Māmalahoa Highway in Nāpo’opo’o.

A large portion of the South Kona community works in either North Kona or South Kohala and commutes daily along Māmalahoa Highway. The two-lane bypass gives motorists an alternate route between North and South Kona.

Completing the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass was one of Mayor Kenoi’s priorities upon taking office in 2008. The Mayor was personally involved in talks with Kona residents to ensure that this bypass helps meet the critical need for transportation infrastructure in West Hawai‘i.

Māmalahoa Highway Bypass Timeline

  • 1960 – A Māmalahoa Relief Highway was first envisioned in “A Plan For Kona,” a document prepared with community input for the State Planning Office. The plan was transmitted to the Hawai‘i County Board of Supervisors, the predecessor of today’s Hawai‘i County Council.
  • 1996 ­– In rezoning the area that would become Hōkūli‘a, County ordinances formalized the developer’s agreement with the community to complete the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass from Keauhou to Captain Cook.
  • 1999 – The Environmental Impact Statement for the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass was completed. Developer 1250 Oceanside Partners broke ground on the Hōkūli‘a development, the first phase of which included the northern segment of the road.
  • 2008 – The County proposed a number of improvements prior to the opening of the northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass. Improvements included work along Ali‘i Drive, along Haleki‘i Street, and on Māmalahoa Highway. These improvements allowed residents to benefit immediately from the northern segment of the bypass before the southern segment was completed.
  • March 2009 – Under a grant of easement in anticipation of dedicating the road to the County, the northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opened to limited traffic – one lane southbound from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. on weekdays only. On March 10, the first day it was open, 650 vehicles took the drive from Keauhou to Kealakekua.
  • June 2010 – The Māmalahoa Highway Bypass between Keauhou and Haleki‘i Street opened to northbound and southbound traffic from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 7 days a week.
  • 2012 – The northern segment of the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass and the .8-mile portion of Haleki‘i Street makai of Muli Street was dedicated to the County.
  • January 2013 – The Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opened daily, 24 hours a day. Restrictions on vehicle types and sizes were removed.
  • November 2013 – The Hawai‘i County Council passed a resolution regarding the Māmalahoa Highway Bypass, naming it Ali‘i Drive.
  • July 2014 – Ground was broken for the southern segment of the bypass.
  • November 4, 2016 – The 2.2-mile southern segment of Māmalahoa Highway Bypass opens, completing Ali‘i Drive from Kailua to Nāpo’opo‘o.

Pahoa District Park Grand Opening is THIS WEEKEND!

An official opening and blessing ceremony for the Pahoa District Park will be held at 9 am  Saturday, Oct. 29.

pahoa-park-flyerKeiki athletic contests, sports clinics, jumping castle and a HI-PAL basketball tournament will be among the featured activities slated to start at 10 am. and continue until late afternoon.

Shipman Park Tennis Courts to Temporarily Close

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will close the Herbert Shipman Park tennis courts starting Monday, September 19, and keep them closed through Friday, September 23, so it can clean the courts.

shipman-park-signThe tennis courts will reopen for play on Saturday, September 24.

Other areas of Herbert Shipman Park, located in Kea‘au, will remain open while the maintenance work is being performed.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park patrons for their patience and understanding while it works to maintain Herbert Shipman Park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or Jason.Armstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tropical Storm Madeline Weakening – All County & State Services Restored Tomorrow

Tropical Storm Madeline is weakening although a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect.

Madeline Satelite
Tomorrow, September 1st all County and State facilities/offices/services will be restored including bus service starting with the 3:15 AM bus.

Transfer stations open on a regular schedule.  County Parks programs will open pending damage assessment reports tomorrow morning.

As of this posting…. Hawaii Public Schools and most private schools will remain closed tomorrow.

County of Hawaii Announces Temporary Closure of Kukuihaele Park

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announces the temporary closure of Kukuihaele Park effective immediately and continuing through completion of construction activities, currently anticipated to be in April of 2017.

Kukuihaele Park

The project will improve and enhance the recreational facilities provided at this rural park for the benefit of area youth, residents and our entire island community. In addition to replacing the existing outdoor basketball court and upgrading the sports field, the County is investing in a new pavilion and restroom facility to support community gatherings, a new walking path to promote healthy living, and amenities such as picnic tables, onsite parking, safety improvements, and enhanced landscaping.

The general contractor has fenced off the entire perimeter of the park for public safety, and the County respectfully requests the public’s assistance in honoring the contractor’s worksite and ongoing construction operations.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park users and the general public for their understanding and patience while it works to improve Kukuihaele Park.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or Jason.Armstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Māmalahoa Hwy at Nāpo‘opo‘o Junction, Kona

Work continues on the County of Hawai‘i’s highway intersection improvement project this weekend. One lane of Māmalahoa Highway will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 and Sunday, August 21 to allow Hawaiian Telcom to relocate overhead cables to newly placed utility poles near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Nāpo‘opo‘o Road in Kona.

A section of the new Mamalahoa Highway.  Photo by Aaron Stene

A section of the new Mamalahoa Highway. Photo by Aaron Stene

Traffic control will be on site to assist with traffic flow and to assure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution. Work is weather-permitting and is subject to change.  Hawaiian Telcom and The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns please call Barett Otani, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

Hawaii County General Plan Public Input Forums

Hawaii County encourages people to attend an upcoming General Plan Public Input Forum.

Hawaii County General Plan

The General Plan guides the island’s long-range physical development.  Participants in the Forums will give feedback on alternatives for future growth.

  • Tuesday, August 23, 6:00pm – 8:00pm,25 Aupuni Street, Room 1401, County Council Chambers, Hilo

You may also participate at our live remote sites:

  • Waimea Community Center – 65-1260 Kawaihae Road
  • Pahoa Neighborhood Facility – 15-2910 Puna Road
  • Naalehu Community Center – 95-5635 Māmalahoa Highway
  • Kona Council Chambers – 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building A

Thursday, August 25

  • 6:00pm – 8:00pm, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Building A, County Council Chambers, Kona

You may also participate at our live remote sites:

  • Waimea Community Center – 65-1260 Kawaihae Road
  • Pahoa Neighborhood Facility – 15-2910 Puna Road
  • Naalehu Community Center – 95-5635 Māmalahoa Highway
  • Hilo Council Chambers – 25 Aupuni Street, Room 1401

Hilo’s Mo‘oheau Bandstand Closing for Renovations

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation announces it will close Hilo’s Mo‘oheau Bandstand temporarily starting Monday, August 15, so the structure may undergo extensive renovation.

A vigil for the victims in the Orlando night club shooting was held recently at Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

A vigil for the victims in the Orlando night club shooting was held recently at Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

The closure is expected to last through November 2016 to allow for structural and architectural repairs as well as painting, lighting and electrical upgrades.

To protect park patrons from construction hazards, barricades will be erected to restrict access to the bandstand throughout the project.

During construction, monthly Hawai‘i County Band concerts will be moved to the Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi Street. The noontime performances will remain as scheduled on the following Saturdays: September 10; October 1; November 12; and December 3.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the temporary closure may cause and thanks park patrons for their understanding while it works to improve Mo‘oheau Bandstand.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Traffic Alert: Oceanic Time Warner Cable Utility Relocation Work at Nāpo‘opo Road

As part of the Nāpō‘opo‘o Road and Māmalahoa Highway Intersection Improvement Project, beginning on Monday, August 15, 2016, Oceanic Time Warner Cable will be relocating overhead cables to newly placed utility poles near the intersection of Māmalahoa Highway and Nāpo‘opo‘o Road in Kona.

One lane of Māmalahoa Highway will be closed to traffic from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. throughout the week of August 15 through August 19 and August 22 through August 26, 2016.

Traffic control will be on site to assist with traffic flow and to assure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution. Work is weather-permitting and is subject to change. Oceanic Time Warner Cable thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call Wayne Iokepa at (808) 331-4919 or Barett Otani, County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist, at (808) 961-8787.

County Reschedules Resurfacing Work on Kekuanao’a Street

The County Highway Maintenance Division has rescheduled resurfacing work on Kekūanāo’a St. between Hīnano St. and Kīlauea Ave. to begin on Wednesday, August 10, 2016.

kekuanoaTropical Storm Darby and unexpected construction constraints had an effect on the project and the County Highways Division is doing their very best to complete the project on August 17, 2016.  Working hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, weather and construction conditions permitting.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and to drive with caution as heavy vehicles and machinery will be in the work zone.  One lane closures, alternate lane closures, lane shifts will be in effect and at a minimum, one lane of travel (for two way traffic) will be provided at all times through the construction area.  The lane closures are necessary to complete the roadway resurfacing work in a timely manner and for the safety of the workers and the traveling public.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist at 961-8787.

Internet Connectivity Restored to County of Hawaii

Internet connectivity has been restored to the County of Hawai’i, and all impacted services are once again available. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.

County of Hawaii Experiencing Internet Difficulties

The County of Hawai’i is experiencing difficulties with its internet connection this morning.

The following services are still available, but may experience longer than usual wait times:

  • early walk-in voting
  • real property tax payments
  • building permits

The following services are unavailable until connectivity is restored, however, the offices remain open to answer any questions.

  • vehicle registration, new and renewal
  • driver licensing, new and renewal

Crews are working to restore connectivity as soon as possible, and an update will be issued once systems are up. Mahalo for your patience and understanding.