Laaloa Beach parking lot to close

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KAILUA-KONA — The parking lot at Laaloa Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands, will be closed indefinitely starting Wednesday, according to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

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KAILUA-KONA — The parking lot at Laaloa Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands, will be closed indefinitely starting Wednesday, according to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

The department anticipates reopening a reconfigured lot with reduced capacity in about 18 months.

In the meantime, park visitors should use alternative parking along Alii Drive or at Kipapa Park, located directly across the street from the beach park.

“The parking lot’s closure is necessary to honor commitments the county agreed to with the Hawaii Island Burial Council, State Historic Preservation Division, cultural and lineal descendants, and cultural practitioners in respect of and in furtherance of the preservation of Haukalua Heiau and several other culturally significant sites located on the property,” an announcement issued Thursday stated.

The existing lot, located directly next to the beach park, currently accommodates about two dozen vehicles and was mostly full when visited on Thursday.

Several additional cars were parked along Alii Drive, near the popular beach that draws scores of people on weekends. The lot at Kipapa Park across the street, meanwhile, had fewer than a dozen cars parked within it Thursday afternoon.

Area residents visiting the park at the time were mostly understanding of the plans to close the lot and that the county should ensure visitors can find alternative parking places. The accessible parking stall near the restrooms at Magic Sands Beach Park will remain open for public use.

CJ Hopman said she thought the department’s plans to modify the lot to better care for historical sites was reasonable, as long as some parking remains available. She added that she wasn’t aware of the other parking lot across the street, suggesting the county put up a sign directing motorists to where they can park.

Angie Duby, another resident, said she’s concerned about impacts to safety and traffic.

“It’s already an issue, I think, right here safety-wise,” she said. “So to close that down, that’s a large amount.”

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She said she’d want to know more about the rationale behind modifying the existing lot and the impact to historical sites. And if it is an issue of protecting historical sites, she agrees action should be taken.

“We have to protect the land first and foremost,” she said. “The land, our ancestors, they deserve that right and that peace to be there.”

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