HILO, Hawaii: A good day for Gilbert Carvalho Park in Hilo, where this ceremony on Thursday commemorated the reopening of the improved and expanded county facility.
Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hilo Councilman Donald Ikeda joined Carvalho family members in the blessing ceremony for the park’s new off-street parking area located mauka of the baseball field. Both elected officials were complimentary of eachother’s efforts in reaching this point.
Councilman Ikeda also presented Ruby Carvalho, widow of Gilbert Carvalho, with a framed copy of a 1955 County Council resolution naming the park after him. Although he passed away at age 25, Gilbert Carvalho was described in the resolution as “Hawai‘i’s greatest athlete.”
We spoke Ruby and other members of the Carvalho ohana, after the ceremony.
The gravel parking lot, which doubles the amount of available parking, has a two-tiered design that provides for outstanding vantage spots for watching games and other park activities. Connecting the lot to the ball field is a new bridge that crosses a fresh-water spring and natural pool, which the county says ads to the park’s accessibility and ambiance.
County personnel were assisted by Hawaii Correctional Industries to do the initial clearing of the jungle area to assess the area, determine the best layout for motorists, and build the parking area.
For years, spectators who flock to the park to watch baseball and softball games have parked along the shoulder and grassy median of Waiānuenue Avenue. The county says the practice has impeded ambulances and other emergency vehicles rushing to nearby Hilo Medical Center, creating a serious hazard for both park users and people needing medical treatment.
Also, a certificate commemorating the Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and acknowledging its efforts to perpetuate Portuguese culture was presented to Margo Aguiar, widow of Dennis Aguiar. The annual Dennis Aguiar Portuguese Day-in-the-Park is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 15. In celebrating all things Portuguese, the festival will feature an 11 a.m. performance by the Hawai‘i County Band, genealogy booths and the serving of free Portuguese bean soup and bread at noon.
The new parking lot is part of an approximately $890,000 upgrade that includes remodeling of the gymnasium restrooms, new paved walking paths meeting federal accessibility standards, and installation of new bleachers.
Part of the current administration’s effort to improve county park facilities, island wide.