Bond debt increased by $30M

  • Laaloa Beach Park is on the list of county facilities to be improved with bond money to comply with ADA standards. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Laaloa Beach Park is on the list of county facilities to be improved with bond money to comply with ADA standards. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

HILO — The County Council made quick work Wednesday approving a $30.5 million bond issue for park improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The county is borrowing the money to comply with a 2012 ADA settlement agreement, said county officials. A 1997 class action suit filed in federal court claimed the county wasn’t doing enough to give disabled individuals access to parks and facilities.


The work was supposed to have been completed by 2016, under the court order. It now needs to be done by 2020, after the county missed that first deadline that was set in 2011.

Of the total bond issue, $24 million will be used for ADA compliance, with the remaining $6 million used for various other improvements at the 17 affected parks facilities.

The council unanimously passed the measure, Bill 146, on first reading. It will be back for one more vote.

The county will pay $49 million next year just on principal and interest payments on previously approved debt for other projects. It’s not known how much the new debt will add to the monthly payments.

Only Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha questioned the details of the bond issue.

“Since the Department of Parks and Recreation will be working in these 17 park locations to do the ADA work, we believe that it would be most cost effective to complete other required work at the same time,” said Mayor Harry Kim in a correspondence to the council.

The new bond issue, along with a $10 million bond issue also approved Wednesday for the Lono Kona sewer project, brings the county’s debt service payment to 12.95 percent of total expenditures each year. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends that ratio go no higher than 15 percent.

Facilities to be improved with the bond money:

Ahalanui Beach Park

Papaaloa Park

Paauilo Park

NAS Swimming Pool

Richardson Ocean Center

Hilo Bayfront Canoe Area

Kolekole Gulch Park

Laaloa Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands

Milolii Beach Park

Parks Maintenance- South Hilo Base Yard

Mooheau Ballfield

Pahala Swimming Pool

Kahuku Park

Naalehu Park

Pahala Park


Panaewa Rainforest Zoo &Gardens Equestrian Center

Wong Stadium at Hoolulu Park

  1. Chickie Galore May 11, 2018 1:11 pm

    Dru is the only one with a brain cell and integrity.

    1. KonaLife May 11, 2018 3:22 pm

      I dunno. See his ridiculous work on the trying to create “rules for good behavior” for illegal vacation rentals because he thinks that–and $500/year payment to the county–makes everything ok. We have (or should have) a core value that everyone has an equal responsibility to follow the law and be protected, equally, by it. His work on creating exceptions and asinine “rules” that apply to one group of people and not everyone else show a fundamental misunderstanding (or indifference to) the idea of fairness and impartiality in the eyes of the law.

      1. Chickie Galore May 12, 2018 6:58 am

        Kona Life! Thank you, I do appreciate your comments and I think you are absolutely correct. I guess I got stuck on the constant annoyance of vacation rental revelers as I haven’t (only close friends) had to live on top of them. You are also correct that they should enforce the same noise and disturbance rules for everyone. I think it is a sad commentary that no one cares about their neighbors anymore. In my tiny 3 lot subdivision, we don’t make noise on Sunday! Everybody would like to enjoy their day off! I also think we need a rule for leaf blowers. We all listen to them everyday, all day in any neighborhood setting. Too lazy to pick up a rake and inconsiderate as the day is long. So yep, you are right. They will enforce those vacation rental rules just like they enforce all the rules. Like not modifying a car or motorcycle exhaust system. Hah Hah. Like we don’t listen to those damn Honda cars, etc all night long. Lord knows anyone could get some rest in our “vacation town”. In 20 something years, we have created an obnoxious level of stupid noise. But I do think Dru tries harder than the rest, effectively or not. And PS, there are no noise restrictions on ag, 500$ or not, (meant for farming activities, now for partying). And in response to your other comment, when we live in a place for 21 years and then they turn every place around you into a vacation rental… How can you say we choose to live in that situation? Don’t worry, when it happens to me, I will make sure the don’t enjoy themselves. I can find ways to be annoying, too. Cockadoodle doooo! And some Wagner Victory at Sea, of course.

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