Pahoa pool to remain closed through at least January

  • A sign informs visitors earlier this month that the community pool in Pahoa is still closed. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

HILO — Pahoa could finally get its pool back in February.

Roxcie Waltjen, Hawaii County Parks and Recreation director, said a contractor has been selected to repair damage caused by the recent Kilauea eruption and has a deadline of Jan. 31 to finish the work. She anticipates the pool, which has been closed since early May, will be put back to use a week or two later.

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“We’re trying to get it done as soon as possible,” Waltjen said.

Work includes sealing cracks caused by earthquakes, replacing filters clogged by fine threads of volcanic glass known as Pele’s hair, flushing the circulation system, pressure washing and refilling the pools.

Waltjen said the work will cost $146,000. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to cover most of the expense since it’s related to the eruption that lasted from early May to early September.

But the main issue for pool users is the delay.

In late October, the county announced that work would begin soon to reopen the pool.

Waltjen said the project was delayed because no company submitted a bid by the Nov. 5 deadline, prompting the restart of the solicitation process. Subsequently, Royal Pools of Hawaii submitted the only bid.

Since then, Waltjen said the project is “right on schedule.”

Meanwhile, the adjacent Pahoa District Park, which is open, remains in need of repairs following its use as a emergency shelter during the eruption.

Maurice Messina, deputy parks and recreation director, said the two baseball and two multi-purpose fields will need to be resodded. There also are repairs that need to be made to the gym.

He said county crews are doing repairs that they can, while the rest of the work will be put out to bid.

Messina said that work could take a year to complete. He said only parts of the park being worked on will be closed while repairs happen.

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“We’re going to keep things open as we can and shut down different areas intermittently,” Messina said.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.