Kamakana Playground celebrates 25 years

  • Volunteers paint picnic tables at Kamakana Playground. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Volunteers waterproof the wood at Kamakana Playground. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The community is invited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Kamakana Playground at Harold H. Higashihara Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 24.

The celebration will feature games and activities for kids, entertainment and vendor and food booths for adults. The Konawaena complex schools will hold a coin drive to help raise money for further repairs at the playground, including fixing a cracked slide and a lift-me-up. A name-the-whale contest will also take place.

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Kamakana Playground was completed in 1997 after grandparents Hugh and Evonelle Hurley took on the daunting task of organizing the community and raising a half million dollars to build a new and exciting playground for Kona after their own grandchildren had visited Anuenue Playground in Waimea.

A couple of years ago, grandmothers who had helped with the original build visited the park with their grandchildren and found a slide boarded off because it was cracked and the playground’s sugar train boarded up because the seats had rotted, among other issues. With the help of the Lions Club of Kona Community Foundation, the Friends of Higashihara Park was created. Money was raised and a series of work days has taken place during the pandemic to waterproof the wood, remove weeds, clean the play equipment, and repair what could be fixed.

Future plans for the park include a one-stall family bathroom near the toddler play area, replacements for the voyaging canoe and sugar train, and resurfacing the playground, as the addition of new equipment requires addressing ADA requirements for playgrounds that have changed since the playground was built.

For more information and to contribute to the effort, visit gofund.me/134c58c6.

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