The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has partnered with the nonprofit Hilo Bayfront Trails Inc. to deliver nearly a mile of paved, 12-foot-wide trails that will support walking, running, bicycling and other non-motorized transportation modes.
Two interconnected sections will extend from Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand to the canoe-storage area at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park. A third segment will start at the terminus of Kumu Street, run though the soccer fields mauka of Kamehameha Avenue, and end at Pauahi Street.
The Department of Parks and Recreation has obtained a $345,743 grant from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund’s State and Local Assistance Program and has committed $25,000 from its own budget to subside the purchase of materials. Hilo Bayfront Trails’ members will build the trail utilizing volunteer labor.
Total estimated cost is $750,000, and construction is expected to be finished by December 2016.
Mayor Billy Kenoi, state Sens. Gilbert Kahele and Lorraine Inouye, as well as Hilo Councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Danny Paleka Jr. were among the dignitaries who praised the project’s benefits during the groundbreaking ceremony. Pastor Evan Carmichael of the Church on a Sure Foundation delivered the prayer.
The ceremony culminated a 10-year County and community effort to develop a walking and bicycling path that showcases Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea, while also meeting the diverse recreational needs of a growing population. Trail development was listed as a top priority by 56 percent of the people who participated in a 2008 public recreation user survey.