Funding bills advance for park upgrades

The County Council Finance Committee on Tuesday advanced a pair of bills that will add to the county’s budget $8.5 million in state and county funds for improvements to Waiakea Uka Park.

One bill appropriates $6.4 million of state funds while the second allocates $2.1 million in matching funds from the county.

The Tribune-Herald recently reported that construction of a new community center at the park could begin as early as next year. The community center will be one of several improvements made to the Hilo park, which was expanded in 2018.

The project will be developed on an adjacent 1-acre lot and entails a new parking lot for the existing gymnasium, a new community center with “about a 100-person capacity” and a realignment of the park’s baseball fields.

State Rep. Richard Onishi, D-Hilo, who helped secure funding for the project, previously told the Tribune-Herald that one of the main goals is to fix the park’s poor parking scheme.

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