KAILUA-KONA — Progress toward the Kealakehe Regional Park is being made with the signing of a contract for an environmental assessment for the project.
County Department of Parks and Recreation deputy director Maurice Messina said on Wednesday that a $195,300 contract with PBR Hawaii and Associates has been inked, although he didn’t have a timeline for the preparation of the assessment itself.
The 190-acre park is planned to go between Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Ane Keohokalole Highway south of the West Hawaii Civic Center.
Construction is expected to occur in four phases, the first of which would include covered basketball courts and a tennis complex along with amenities like paths, roads and parking.
In November, the Hawaii County Council signed off on $162,000 in fair-share contribution money toward turning the park into a reality.
Whenever the County Council considers any changes to the zoning code, it can require applicants to make “fair share” contributions as a way to mitigate a development’s potential impacts on the surrounding infrastructure.
The $162,000 was added to a previously allocated $470,300, all of which is intended to go toward the environmental assessment as well as a preliminary engineering report for the project.
The money will also fund an update to the previously approved master plan as well as preparing plans for 30 acres of critical habitat area in line with an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The park is also expected to be among the eventual users of recycled R1 water from the Kealakehe Waste Water Treatment Plant.
A final environmental impact statement on the R1 upgrade project is still in the works. The draft EIS for the treatment plant R1 upgrade project was released in February.
Earlier this month, the governor signed into law legislation that appropriated funding for capital improvement projects throughout the state, including $750,000 for the design of a dual-piping system, the first of its kind in the region. The legislation also requires the county to put up matching funds of $150,000.
The system would allow for irrigation with R1 water and let the park use between 300,000 and 500,000 gallons of R1 water daily for uses such as irrigation and vehicle washing.
Other anticipated users of the R1 water include Old Kona Airport Park, the Queen Liliuokalani Trust development in the area and the Kohanaiki Golf and Ocean Club.