Some facilities at Pahoa park to reopen

HILO — The covered play courts and upper baseball fields at Pahoa District Park will reopen following a blessing Monday.

The facilities were closed due to the park’s use as a shelter during the recent Kilauea eruption.

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Repairs continue to be made, due to damage sustained during that period, and parts of the park will remain closed intermittently while they are being done.

Soccer fields will remain closed until repaired.

The blessing will occur at 3 p.m.

The Pahoa swimming pool also remains closed pending repairs. Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation sought bids late last month for repairs, including removal of fine threads of volcanic glass known as Pele’s hair from filters and other equipment.

Roxcie Waltjen, Parks and Recreation director, said work continues to reopen Isaac Hale Beach Park, which was surrounded by lava during the recent eruption and has a new black sand beach.

That facility could be reopened in the first or second week of December, she said.

Preparation work includes cleaning up damage and testing of the water in the lagoon created by the new beach to ensure it’s safe for swimming. Portable toilets will be used since the park lost its water line during the eruption.

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The park will be accessible via a temporary road built over some of the hardened lava flows on Highway 137. The road isn’t open yet.

As many as 50 to 60 people a day have been hiking to the park, Waltjen said. She said the county doesn’t recommend people access the park until it’s ready for use.