New park in Kona is priced at $46M


POSTED: Friday, May 29, 2009

KAILUA-KONA » Hawaii County officials and consultants have unveiled the preferred design for Old Kona Airport Park.

The master plan for the 117-acre park includes improvements estimated to cost about $46 million.

It proposes the removal of the runway at the long-closed airport site while offering open areas, enhancing cultural features and providing better parking, while making minor improvements for the fields.

The plan also calls for bio-basins for storm water retention and native plant restoration, and features pedestrian- and bike-friendly paths in the next 20 years.

It also envisions the creation of a cultural preserve, garden and interpretation center, a skateboard park and a great lawn with pavilion. There would also be a multiuse recreational complex with a youth center, senior center and 25-yard pool.

“;We can't please everybody, but hopefully this is a plan that everybody can live with,”; Herb Lee Jr., president of Lee Communications Inc. and meeting facilitator, said earlier this month. “;Over the last 24 hours, there have been intense discussions with the planning team and the county Parks and Recreation Department. This is not the end. It is the beginning of the end—something we can move forward with.”;

Ideas for the master plan were given in March to the Honolulu-based consulting firm Kimura International for the development of three proposals. Those proposals were introduced at a meeting May 16. Most participants chose the second plan, with modifications.

The planning team then revised the plan, coming up with the preferred plan that was presented two days later. A final preferred plan is expected to by the end of the summer.