State to break ground on Keehi care center
State officials will join a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a $3.5 million senior and child day-care center at Keehi Lagoon Park.
The ceremony will honor Tommy Kakesako, chairman of the nonprofit Keehi Memorial Organization, which is building the 8,000-square-foot center near Kalihi.
The Keehi Adult Day Health Center and Childcare Center will add to meeting halls, camping grounds, wedding chapels and sports facilities on the 11-acre site leased from the state by the Hawaii chapter of Disabled American Veterans.
"There's really a lack of preschool facilities on the island," said Cappy Fasi, the health center's project manager. "We're trying to address those community needs" as well as senior citizen day care, she said.
Fasi said Kakesako came up with the idea for the health center several years ago as a way to attract the community to the park during the day.
"Tommy has been quite the visionary and has been dedicated to giving back to the community, and now we want to honor him through this dedication and groundbreaking," she said. Family and friends said Kakesako has been ill.
Kakesako was instrumental in the development of the Keehi Lagoon Memorial over its half-century history. A veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he received shrapnel wounds trying to rescue another battalion during World War II.
He served for several years as chairman of the Keehi Lagoon Memorial Management Committee, which manages the lagoon park for the Hawaii DAV.
The Tommy Kakesako Rehab Building will be torn down and services rolled over to the new health center, which Fasi expects to open in about a year and a half. About 4,000 square feet will be for senior citizen activities, with 2,000 square feet for children up to kindergarten. The rest will be office space.
The state has provided $2 million for the building in grant-in-aid for capital improvement projects.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and state Sens. Brian Taniguchi and Carol Fukunaga will attend the 10 a.m. groundbreaking.