Kona Community Talk Story With Mayor Kenoi

Please join Mayor Kenoi and his cabinet for a “Community Talk Story” on August 9, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.  in Kona, at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center – Council Chambers.

Kenoi Talk Story

Mayor Kenoi’s Statement On New Haneda-Kona Route

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he is thrilled by today’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the application by Hawaiian Airlines to provide passenger air service to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport from Honolulu and Kona International Airports.
Kona tokyo

“Our economy is uniquely tied to air service,” said Mayor Kenoi. “Thousands of our working families depend on the visitor industry, not only at resorts and hotels, but also at attractions, activities, restaurants, and retailers. This is great news for our state, and especially for Hawaiʻi Island.”

Entrepreneurs on Hawaiʻi Island who specialize in agriculture and aquaculture niche markets will also benefit from added market opportunities since this flight will be able to carry air cargo. “These products no longer have to be sent to Honolulu before being flown to Japan,” said Mayor Kenoi. “This increases freshness and reduces cost.”

The new route will bring a regularly scheduled international flight to Hawaiʻi Island for the first time since 2010, the last year Japan Airlines offered service between Kona and Tokyo’s Narita airport. Hawaiian Airlines will start flying directly into Kona from Haneda three times a week by Jan. 29, 2017.

Assisting in the restoration of this route has been a priority of the Kenoi administration ever since Japan Air Lines ended its service. “The County of Hawaiʻi has done everything it could to support Hawaiian Airlines’ application for the flight, including discussions and communications with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Department of Homeland Defense Secretary Jeh Johnson regarding Customs and Border Protection in Kona.”

Mayor Kenoi thanked Hawaiian Airlines for never giving up its pursuit to expand its Hawaiʻi-Japan routes, significantly the direct flight into Kona. “Our residents are keenly aware of the great economic impact this will have for the entire island,” Mayor Kenoi said. “This is also a win-win as it strengthens the competitiveness of Hawaiian Airlines in this market, and fulfills a U.S. Department of Transportation mandate to strengthen smaller carriers.”

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Presents 2016 Luncheon with Mayor Kenoi

Mayor Billy Kenoi and select cabinet members discuss opportunities and challenges to West Hawaii’s economy at the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) 2016 Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Mayor Kenoi testifying at the state capital.

Mayor Kenoi testifying at the state capital.

Sponsored by the Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union and Mokulele Airlines, the annual luncheon offers a unique opportunity for the local community to meet with county department representatives in a casual setting.

Attendees will have the opportunity to have lunch with a specific department as well as pose questions to the mayor and cabinet heads. Issues discussed may include update on the Honokohau Harbor, housing and homelessness, healthcare and opportunities for economic development in West Hawaii.

In addition, attendees can also learn about new and existing KKCC businesses at the Chamber’s annual Business Expo, which precedes and follows the banquet. Times are 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2 p.m.

General admission is $65; Chamber and Rotary members $55. No walk-ins allowed. For more information and/or to register, visit www.kona-kohala.com or call the Chamber office at 808-329-1758.

Mayor Kenoi Extends Emergency Proclamation for Puna Lava Flow

Yesterday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a fourth proclamation relating to the events of the June 27th Lava Flow.

Click to view proclamation

Click to view proclamation

A fourth supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued March 30th by Mayor Billy Kenoi, extending the emergency for another 60 days.

Second Supplementary Proclamation Pertaining to State of Emergency in Puna Issued Today

A second supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued today by Mayor Billy Kenoi. A PDF of the signed proclamation is available here.

Click to read

Click to read


WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature, provides for the establishment of County organizations for emergency management and disaster relief with the Mayor having direct responsibility and authority over emergency management within the County; and

WHEREAS, Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature and Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2 of the Hawai‘i County Code, establishes a Civil Defense Agency within the County of Hawai‘i and prescribes its powers, duties, and responsibilities, and Section 13‑23 of the Hawai‘i County Charter empowers the Mayor of the County to declare emergencies; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on September 4, 2014, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 5, 2014, issued Proclamations declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i on October 16, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation, and the State of Hawai‘i on September 22, 2014, and October 17, 2014, issued a Supplementary Proclamation and Second Supplementary Proclamation further declaring states of emergency due to the threat of disaster due to the June 27th lava flow in the District of Puna, County and State of Hawai‘i; and

WHEREAS, the United States Geological Survey – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on December 3, 2014, reported that the eruptive phase of the June 27th flow is continuing and show no signs of halting and that new breakouts occurring upslope of Pahoa Village have converged to create a new organized lava front; and

WHEREAS, this new upslope front has been proceeding at a rate of several hundred yards per day and is presently located 2.5 miles from State Highway 130; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM P. KENOI, Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i,

do hereby proclaim and declare that a state of emergency continues to exist due to the threat of imminent disaster on the Hawai‘i Island, District of Puna, effective December 3, 2014, and that the Proclamation of September 4, 2014, and Supplementary Proclamation of October 16, 2014, shall remain in full force and effect and are hereby included in the provisions of this Second Supplementary Proclamation and shall continue thereon for 60 days or until further act by this office.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Hawai‘i to be affixed. Done this 3rd day of December, 2014, in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

County of Hawai‘i

Mayor Kenoi on the GMO Issue

Big Island Mayor Kenoi is quoted as saying the following about the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) lawsuits that are currently floating around the state in Hawaii Business Magazine:

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

“GMO has been very important and beneficial to our cut-flower, orchid, anthurium and nursery industry. The science research has been cutting-edge and we’ve seen a lot of innovation and creativity, and certainly in our papaya industry, the importance of research is well-known for maintaining, growing and protecting its viability.

I still don’t believe GMO is the issue facing agriculture – it’s water and access to land and how we can grow our next generation of farmers. GMO has taken a lot of energy and emphasis away from more important issues like these. Another important issue is access to markets, making it easier for farmers to overcome regulatory hurdles, reducing our dependence on imported food and providing real food security.

My message to the Council and the community is…”

You can read the rest of his message and other mayor’s thoughts on the issue here: “Talk Story with Neighbor Island Mayors”

Mayor Kenoi On Vacation Beginning Dec. 6 – Mayor to Accompany His Son to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi will be on vacation beginning Friday, Dec. 6 to cheer on his son Justin, 13, at the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Kissimmee, Fla.

Proud "Dad Moment" for Mayor Kenoi as his son will be playing for the Pop Warner Championships on the mainland.

Proud “Dad Moment” for Mayor Kenoi as his son Justin will be playing for the Pop Warner Super Bowl on the mainland

Justin Kenoi is a member of the Big Island Pop Warner champion Pana’ewa Ali’i football team, which is the first Hawai’i Island team to win the Western Regional finals to advance to the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

Mayor Kenoi will remain with the team while the Pana’ewa Ali’i participate in the tournament. Managing Director Wally Lau will be acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns.

Results of the Second Annual Keiki Triathlon

Mayor Billy Kenoi’s third annual Health Fest was held today at the Kekuaokalani Gymnasium in Kailua-Kona. The Health Fest included the second annual Keiki Triathlon for triathletes 7 to 14 years old. (Results are below.)
See below for results

See below for results

Nearly 70 young athletes from around the island finished the challenging swim, bike and run courses at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and around Maka‘eo Park, also known as the Old Kona Airport. The Keiki Triathlon was organized by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai‘i Isle Police Activities League (HI-PAL) with the support of volunteers from Lava Kids, Lavaman Triathlons, Keauhou Canoe Club, Ultraman, PATH, Big Island Running Co., Bike Works, IRONMAN volunteers, IRONMAN finishers, Kealakehe High School Waveriders Triathlon Club and the Hawai‘i Cycling Club.
The Health Fest included health screenings, information booths, lessons and live demonstrations, as well as free food, entertainment, and activities. Held in the Kekuaokalani Gymnasium, the fest was organized by the Office of Mayor Billy Kenoi with the support of HMSA and Kaiser Permanente. The Health Fest in Hilo was held on September 28 at Bayfront Park.

Today’s Health Fest and Keiki Triathlon were part of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s Healthy Hawai‘i Island initiative, which includes programs to connect, build, and activate a healthy community.

Keiki Triathlon Results

Mayor Kenoi Testifies Before State Land Board Regarding Naniloa Volcanoes Resort

Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi testified before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources today in Honolulu, urging the board to firmly enforce the lease terms and give no special consideration to the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort.

Below is Mayor Kenoi’s testimony:

September 13, 2013

Honorable William J. Aila Jr., Chair and Members of the Board of Land and Natural Resources

Re: Agenda Item D-10, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case No. 12-02279 and General Lease Nos. S-5844 and S-5372 to Hawaii Outdoor Tours Inc.

Aloha Chair Aila and Board Members:
Thank you for this opportunity to express our deep concern with the deteriorating situation at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort. Banyan Drive has traditionally been the hub of East Hawai‘i’s resort activity, which makes it critically important to the economy of the Island of Hawai‘i. The Banyan Drive properties should be an economic engine and a job creator that provides benefits to our working families. The Naniloa property is a crucial component of this area, and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has failed to ensure this property is properly managed for the benefit of our state and our community.
Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours Inc. has now held the lease for the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort and the Banyan Drive golf course for more than seven years, and the result has been a disaster for East Hawai‘i. The Kilauea Tower of the resort has been gutted and empty for years, and the property is in a shambles. Valuable retail space on the grounds of the resort that could be contributing to the local economy and generating jobs is vacant and closed. Despite the lessee’s well-publicized promises to restore the area as a top- quality destination, a lounge adjoining the hotel is usually closed, and the pool on the Banyan Drive side of the property has been drained. Only a fraction of the rooms in the Naniloa have actually been renovated. Since much of the hotel is empty, the facility operates with minimal staff.
Many of our East Hawai‘i residents are traveling 100 miles to work at jobs in Kona and the Kohala Coast resort areas, while the once-beautiful 391-room Naniloa property is deteriorating in Hilo. Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours has been given ample opportunity over the last seven years to restore the property, and we cannot continue to stand by while a single hotel operator holds an entire community economic hostage.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources has failed to enforce the terms of its lease with Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours. To give a few examples, this lessee failed to maintain the $1 million performance bond required by the lease. This lessee previously failed to stay current on the lease rent, and was issued notices of default. This lessee filed for bankruptcy protection a year ago, yet the lease specifically allows for termination “if the Lessee shall become bankrupt.”
Our greatest concern is the manner in which this lessee allowed the historic Naniloa property to dramatically deteriorate despite clear language in the lease that requires the lessee to “keep, repair, and maintain all buildings and improvements…on the premises in good order, condition and repair….”
On Aug. 1, this lessee failed to make the required semi-annual rent payment, and was granted an extension. Now this board is being asked for another extension to delay this required payment to the end of the year.
For the good of our working families and the business climate in all of East Hawai‘i, we respectfully urge the Board of Land and Natural Resources to firmly enforce the terms of lease S-5844. No special consideration should be given to lessee Hawai‘i Outdoor Tours or to First Citizens Bank, which is the lien holder in this case. If the current lessee or the lien holder cannot meet such basic requirements as paying the required ground lease rent or maintaining construction or performance bonds to protect state interests, then the board should declare the lessee in default and move to terminate the lease.
This department has collected millions of dollars in ground lease rents from the Banyan Drive tenants over the years. At a minimum, DLNR has an obligation to actively manage the Banyan Drive leases to assure those properties are properly maintained and operated by tenants who comply with the terms of their leases. This will create jobs, boost the Hawai‘i Island economy, increase state transient accommodation and excise tax collections, and eventually result in increased lease rent collections for the DLNR.
The land board must address these problems head-on, and clear the way for prompt restoration of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort. We need action now.
Thank you for your consideration.

William P. Kenoi


Mayor Kenoi in China to Seek Trade, Travel Partnerships with Taiwan

County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi is in Taipei, Republic of China this week with eight other mayors from across the nation in an effort to strengthen and promote business, agricultural, educational and cultural ties with Taiwan.

Kenoi Budget
The government of Taiwan organized the 2013 U.S. Municipal Mayor Delegation to Taiwan from Sept. 1-7, and selected mayors from Hawai‘i, California, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Wyoming and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to participate. The Republic of China is hosting the mayors and providing air and hotel accommodations.

The County of Hawai‘i established a sister-city relationship with the County of Haulian in Taiwan in 1971, and former Mayor Shen-Shan Hsieh of the County of Haulian led a delegation to the County of Hawai‘i in 2007. Taiwan was recently added to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program to encourage travel between the two nations, and China Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines began direct flights between Taipei and Honolulu this year.

County of Hawai‘i Managing Director Wally Lau is serving as acting mayor until Mayor Kenoi returns on Friday, Sept. 6.


Pālamanui the Planned Kona Campus of Hawaiʻi Community College Has Groundbreaking Ceremony

Pālamanui, the planned Kona campus of Hawaiʻi Community College, has taken a giant step towards becoming a reality. A kīpaepae ʻeli honua, or groundbreaking ceremony for the new campus, was held in May 2013. Welcome news considering Pālamanui was first conceived of more than two decades ago, and had been in the planning stages since 2004.

Palamanui Ground Breaking

“We are graduating from planning to doing,” said University of Hawaiʻi System President M.R.C. Greenwood. “And that is a very important beginning.”

West Hawaiʻi is the only major geographic region and population center in Hawaiʻi without a permanent higher education facility. That will change in 2015 when the first phase of Pālamanui is scheduled for completion.

“The community colleges open the doors for our kamaliʻi, our children, for haumana, our students to dream,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Palamanui Blessing

The state-of-the-art, energy-independent campus is expected to serve as a model for other state projects.

The $25 million first phase includes a structure with 24,000 square feet of classrooms, science labs, learning kitchens, library, learning commons area and a large photovoltaic system.

It fits in perfectly with Hawaiʻi Community College’s mission of E ʻImi Pono, or seeking excellence.

“It is the same spirit that will guide us into the future and the endless possibilities this new campus will provide,” said Noreen Yamane, chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College.


The groundbreaking ceremony prepared the land in a traditional Hawaiian way, and included Hānai ʻAwa, feeding ʻawa to the land; Kanu Iʻa, burying fish; Kanu Lāʻau, planting Lāʻau; and hula, with a mele or song for the spirit of the land, ocean and sky.

Then with ōʻō, or digging sticks, in hand; state, county and UH dignitaries dug into the earth, marking the start of the creation of a new home.

Palamanui Digging Stick

“We pledge all that we have, all that we are, to Hawaiʻi’s and its future,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “Pālamanui, is the future of Hawaiʻi.”

Talk Story with Mayor Kenoi and the Administration

Council Member Zendo Kern invites the public as he hosts Mayor Billy Kenoi and members of his cabinet for a Talk Story on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 5:30p.m. The meeting will be held at the Kea‘au Elementary School Cafeteria.

Zendo Kern Talk Story

This event is another opportunity for residents to hear details of the proposed 2013-2014 County Budget. The Mayor will present information on the budget submitted to the County Council and will take questions from those in attendance. Members of the Kenoi Administration and Council Member Kern will be available for questions following the presentation.

The Council will convene a Special Meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2013 when it is scheduled to hold a second reading of the County’s Operating/Capital Improvements Projects Budget.

Informal “Talk Story” With Mayor Kenoi and His Cabinet

Community Meeting Kenoi Kern Yoshimoto

Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Annual Luncheon With the Mayor

Hear what Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi and his cabinet have to say on the county’s economy and outlook for 2013 at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Focus Luncheon Tuesday, April 2.

The Sign Outside the Hotel

The Sign Outside the Hotel

Sponsored by Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, the informative event is 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

Reservations, which include lunch, are $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members; tables of eight are available. The registration deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. RSVP online at kona-kohala.com or by phoning the Chamber office at 329-1758. No refunds or cancellations will be taken after March 27.

Andy Bumatai – In The Car With Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi (Full Episode)

Andy Bumatai interviews Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has the drive through Hilo, Hawai’i on one of the most beautiful days.

Bumatai and Kenoi

Sponsored by First Insurance a Hawai’i Insurance Company. Call First Insurance for the best Insurance rates in Hawai’i.


Governor Abercrombie Meets with the Mayors – Kenoi Testifies Before Legislature

Governor Abercrombie met with Mayors from Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island counties

Governor Abercrombie met with Mayors from Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, Big Island counties today.

Click here to read Mayor Kenoi’s testimony before the legislature today: Mayor Kenoi Testifies Before Legislature.

Mayor Kenoi Mourns the Passing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye

Mayor Billy Kenoi and the people of the County of Hawai‘i mourn the passing of United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a war hero, distinguished president pro-tempore of the United States Senate, and an effective advocate for the people of Hawai‘i for more than five decades.

Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency Director Tom Brown, left, and Mayor Billy Kenoi, accept a Federal Transit Agency check representing $7.2 million from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to fund mass transit improvements in the County of Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i County Mass Transit Agency Director Tom Brown, left, and Mayor Billy Kenoi, accept a Federal Transit Agency check representing $7.2 million from U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to fund mass transit improvements in the County of Hawai‘i.

“Beyond the titles, beyond the power and the influence, what most stands out is his thoughtfulness, his kindness and how he treated everyone with respect and aloha,” Mayor Kenoi said. “I will never forget that lesson.”

Many of Hawai‘i’s leaders walked through Senator Inouye’s office – including Mayor Kenoi, who worked as an intern in Inouye’s office in the summer of 1992. “He gave me opportunity, and he supported me every step of the way,” Mayor Kenoi said. “I look to him with the same respect, honor and love that I feel for my parents.”

“Senator Inouye was a friend and a mentor to generations of public servants. He always encouraged all of us to fight for what we believe in, to stand up for what is right, and most importantly, to give everything we have to serve the people of Hawai‘i,” Mayor Kenoi said. “He taught all of us how to conduct ourselves as public servants.”

Senator Inouye was a leader who embodied the best of yesterday, who served our community the best he could every day, and who was always mindful of tomorrow, of future generations, Mayor Kenoi said.

“He was a tireless advocate for the people of Hawai‘i. Takako and I, our family, and our community are honored and privileged to have had him as a part of our lives.”


Mayor Kenoi Will Hold Office

After enough analysis of tonight’s race… I will say that Mayor Kenoi will hold office.

Deputy Mayor Iizuka presents a message of aloha to Mayor Kenoi on behalf of Mayor Sadaji Akutsu of Shibukawa.

Congratulations to both Mayor Kenoi and Former Mayor Harry Kim for really running pretty clean campaigns and really not beefing.

Normally we see a lot of smear tactics amongst constituents of candidates and this year we didn’t see that.

Mahalo to Mayor Kenoi and Harry Kim for running a campaign free of smearing each other.

Sales Begin at Kamakoa Nui Workforce Housing in Waikoloa: Timeline of Events

The County of Hawai‘i today announced that it will soon begin sales of homes in the Kamakoa Nui workforce housing community in Waikoloa.

The County of Hawai‘i today announced that it will soon begin sales of homes in the Kamakoa Nui workforce housing community in Waikoloa.

In a related announcement, the County will extend Paniolo Avenue from Waikoloa Elementary School to the community and the new Kamakoa Nui Park. The extension will provide a primary route to the park, which will provide ballfields and a skate park to all residents of Waikoloa.

The Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) will begin offering new fee-simple homes to qualified buyers at price points between $235,000 and $350,000. There are no additional costs to ownership such as homeowner’s association dues or community facilities charges. OHCD plans to ask for bids on the first three phases of the project — about 20 homes — by December 2012.

“We’ve had challenges along the way, including a lawsuit that we had to deal with,” said Steve Arnett, Administrator of the County’s Office of Housing and Community Development. “We are so excited about the possibility of now making this an addition to the Waikoloa Village community.”

Ongoing litigation between the County of Hawaii and Unidev LLC, the original developer of Kamakoa Nui, had clouded the title to the property. Although the lawsuits are ongoing, the County of Hawai‘i was informed Monday that title to the property was cleared. This development gave the County the green light to offer homes in Kamakoa Nui for sale.

Those who participated in a 2007 lottery to determine placing on the offering list are being contacted and will have first choice at purchasing a home in Kamakoa Nui. Depending on demand, remaining homes will be offered through another lottery. Those who are able to purchase should be able to move into their homes by next summer.

“It’s exciting! I’m a teacher here at Waikoloa, and it’s exciting to have the possibility of owning a home here in the Village where I teach,” said Larry Denis, a Waikoloa Elementary School teacher who was at today’s announcement and walk-through. “I’m excited to look at the options.”

Homes at Kamakoa Nui are being offered to resident families with household incomes of no more than 140 percent of the area median income. For a family of four, that comes out to $97,440. Additionally, Habitat For Humanity will purchase four lots at Kamakoa Nui. This will allow families with even lower average monthly incomes to be able to afford homes.

“Families will have an opportunity to build equity for their families, for their future,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “It becomes a wiser investment for all of us, and more importantly, it’s an investment in our children and their future.”

Looking toward the future Paniolo Ave. extension

Mayor Kenoi also on Thursday announced that the $3 million first phase of the extension of Paniolo Avenue is expected to be out to bid in December and could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2014. The extension of Paniolo Avenue, from the traffic light near Waikoloa Elementary School to Kamakoa Nui, will create the primary entrance to the community and the park, lessening the impact to those living on Iwikuamo‘o Drive.

“We’re building the road because the community needs it. Although the obligation to construct the road rests with others, we cannot wait for them to resolve who will build it,” said Mayor Kenoi. “So we will build it.”

Timeline of Kamakoa Nui:

  • 2005 – Kamakoa Vistas Workforce Housing project awarded to Unidev LLC of Bethesda, Md. Unidev contracts with the County of Hawai’i’s Office of Housing & Community Development to build 1,200 affordable units, which will be offered leasehold between $350,000 and $475,000, not including monthly $100 association dues and $450 in Community Facilities District fees.
  • 2006 – Unidev secures $6 million in temporary financing from the National Electricians Benefit Fund (NEBF). Unidev partners with Citicorp to finance the entire project.
  • 2007 – County pays off NEBF loan.
  • 2007 – County breaks ground for the project on Dec. 29.
  • 2008 – Citicorp drops out of project during the financial crisis.
  • 2008 – County Council approves $40 million bond float for Kamakoa.
  • 2008 – Waikoloa Workforce Housing LLC established by the county.
  • 2008 – Isemoto Contracting Co. is the low bidder on backbone infrastructure at just under $28 million.
  • 2008 – Unidev does not respond to county, WWH or vendors.
  • 2009 – Under a new administration, County stops payments and sues Unidev citing false and fraudulent claims. County closes WWH.
  • 2010 – OHCD revises business model under the newly branded name of Kamakoa Nui. Price points are now $235,000 to $350,000 for new, fee-simple new homes with no additional fees.
  • 2011 – Site work completed by Isemoto.
  • 2011 – Coastal Construction Co. submits low bid for model homes, which are completed on time and on budget.
  • 2012 – The model homes are furnished by Trans Pacific Interior Design. Aldridge and Associates hired as real estate broker.
  • 2012 – County clears title and announces that sales of homes at Kamakoa Nui are about to begin. County also announces it will extend Paniolo Avenue from the Waikoloa Elementary School to the new Kamakoa Nui Park.

Delegation From Oshima Island Visits The Big Island

A delegation from Hawai‘i County Sister City Oshima Island visited the office of Mayor Billy Kenoi today, delivering a gift in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sister City relationship.

Managing Director William Takaba, Honorary Consul General of Japan Art Taniguchi, Zen Tanaka, Mayor Billy Kenoi, Dr. Masafumi Honda, and Mayumi Jinguh

In Japanese, Oshima means “big island” – so it’s fitting that Oshima Island’s only international Sister City relationship is with Hawai‘i’s biggest island. Though Oshima is much smaller than Hawai‘i Island – about 35 square miles with a population of 8,500 in 2008 – it is home to waterfalls, valleys, and Mt. Mihara, an active volcano standing at 2,507 feet. The most recent eruption was in 1990. Oshima is the largest island in the Izu group, over a dozen islands extending south from the Izu Peninsula.

“Fifty years of a special friendship tie between our islands, which our predecessors continuously built, is the pride and honor of the people of Oshima-Machi,” wrote Oshima Mayor Masafumi Kawashima in a letter to Mayor Kenoi.

Mayor Kawashima was unable to come to Hawai‘i Island for the celebration, but Mayumi Jinguh and Zen Tanaka of Oshima visited on his behalf, delivering a letter and a gift – a copper relief depicting a rainbow bridge between the Sister Cities of Hawai‘i Island and Oshima Island. Tanaka, the 19th master of a 414-year-old copper craftsmanship school, started his work with copper when he was 15 years old. The people of Oshima Island, including Mayor Masafumi Kawashima, participated in crafting the piece.

“We are very honored and very privileged to call you our friends, to call you our neighbors, and to call you family,” said Mayor Kenoi.

The County of Hawai‘i’s Sister City relationship with Oshima Island was initiated in 1962 by the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to today’s County Council. The Chairman and Executive Officer of the Board of Supervisors, the predecessor to the office of the Mayor, was Thomas K. ‘Lofty’ Cook.

Members of the Board of Supervisors at the time were Wing Kong ‘Winkie’ Chong, Elroy Osorio, Helene Hale, Sherwood Greenwell, Ikuo Hisaoka, and Elias Yadao.

The current Mayor of Oshima-Machi, Mayor Kawashima, visited Hawai‘i Island before he was mayor – in 1996 as part of a volcano study tour to Mt. St. Helens on the Continental U.S. and three Hawaiian islands. The last visit from Oshima Island to Hawai‘i County was in 2006, when a delegation of 100 people came in celebration of Oshima’s 50th anniversary of township.