Hilo site will house services for veterans
Construction on the complex and housing is set for next year
HILO » A nonprofit organization of Big Island veterans plans to start construction next year on a complex of veterans services and housing on 7.5 acres next to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said President Bob Williams.
The complex will consist of an office building for government and private veterans organizations, about 100 condominium apartments for veterans and spouses 62 years old and up, and a multipurpose facility providing dining for up to 335 people.
The complex is called Ka Hui Na Koa O Kawili because it will face Kawili Street. "Hui na koa" means an "association of warriors."
The complex will serve a number of needs, said retired Circuit Court Judge Paul de Silva, a member of Hawaii Island Veterans' Memorial Inc., which is carrying out the project.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the state Office of Veterans Services and the private Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans would be housed in a central location, de Silva said.
There is no assurance that government agencies would relocate to the 6,200-square-foot office building, but they currently pay market rental rates elsewhere, Williams said.
Since the Veterans Memorial group is nonprofit, and since the site is state land, transferred to Hawaii County, and leased to the veterans for $1 per year, space at the facility would rent at below-market rates, Williams said.
An unrelated $32 million, 95-bed long-term care home for veterans is under construction at Hilo Hospital.
The 96 to 110 apartments at Kawili would serve a gap group, an aging population which might need some "assisted living" care but not full-time medical attention, de Silva said.
The one- and two-bedroom units in three buildings would be sold at $225,000 to $285,000 as "life estates." On the buyer's death, the owners association would buy back the unit, repaying the family of the buyer the purchase price but keeping for the association any increase in value.
The housing buildings are expected to cost a total of $24 million in private funds. The multipurpose building would cost $5 million in private or foundation funds. The office building would cost $3 million in federal funds.
Veterans group convenes on Big Island
HILO » More than 100 members of Disabled American Veterans are meeting today and tomorrow in Hilo at the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, Department of Hawaii Commander Wendell Kekuna said.
The state convention will be a preparation for the national convention in Chicago Aug. 12-15, he said.
DAV leaders are concerned about federal cost-cutting proposals that would harm veterans and about unexplained health problems suffered by Gulf War veterans, Kekuna said.
Founded in 1920 and chartered by Congress in 1932, the DAV serves 2.1 million disabled veterans.