Funds released for Waimea school land acquisition

State Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D-North Hawaii) recently announced the release of nearly $1.6 million in capital improvement project funding for the Department of Education to acquire land for Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools.

The funding will be used to acquire Parcel 54 from the Parker Ranch Land Trust. Gov. David Ige initially released the $1.6 million in funding in May 2019, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project’s timeline was pushed back and funding was due to lapse in June.

Inouye worked with House Rep. David Tarnas (D-North Kona and North and South Kohala) and legislative colleagues to re-appropriate the funds during the 2020 session to ensure the parcel of land immediately adjacent to Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools and the U.S. Post Office is secured in perpetuity to provide safe parking for the school. Parker Ranch has allowed the school to use the gravel lot for the past 15 years.

“Parker Ranch supports the idea of selling this parcel to DOE. We initiated this conversation with DOE about 5 years ago because of the circulation issues at the main intersection in town. Peak traffic coincides with school hours and the problems were spilling out onto Mamalahoa Highway. The traffic was particularly troubling for the school related commute in the mornings and afternoons. We think this parcel should be incorporated into the school’s infrastructure plan,” Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch Inc., said in a prepared statement.

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