KAPAAU, Hawaii: A milestone blessing and dedication is scheduled for the scenic Keokea Beach Park on Saturday morning. Hawaii County Parks and Recreation sends this media release in advance of the event:
Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Department of Parks and Recreation Director Bob Fitzgerald will join the North Kohala community in celebrating the reopening of Kēōkea Beach Park during a public blessing and dedication ceremony set for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 12.
The Friends of Kēōkea Beach Park will assist in welcoming the public back to the North Kohala facility. The park’s main pavilion has been closed since it was badly damaged Oct. 15, 2006, by the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck near Kiholo Bay and also a 6.0 Hāwī temblor.
Kēōkea Beach Park has since undergone a $1.4 million renovation that included fixing extensive earthquake damage to the main pavilion and modifying the entire park so it complies with federal accessibility requirements. In addition to the park’s new paved walkways, its main pavilion has been enlarged, the kitchen completely renovated, and new restrooms constructed.
Anbe, Aruga and Ishizu Architects Inc. prepared the plans for the project, while Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. was the general contractor. The Friends of Kēōkea Beach Park’s numerous community volunteers assisted Parks and Recreation staff with painting, clearing debris, trimming trees and other maintenance duties.
“Although the park has remained open since the earthquake, we understood the critical role the main pavilion plays in providing the community a safe, attractive and appropriate venue for family parties and public gatherings,” Director Fitzgerald said. “We truly appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we diligently pursued the comprehensive upgrades that will serve the community and park visitors well for many years to come. We are proud of the final outcome and welcome everyone to join us this Saturday as we celebrate the reunion of park and community.”
Free entertainment will be provided by the Kupuka‘as, John Keawe and DJ Darren Bermudez, all of whom are donating their services for the reopening celebration.
Encompassing more than 7 acres, Kēōkea Beach Park is located near Hala‘ula, not far from Hāwī. It features picnic areas, pavilions, restrooms, and ocean access for swimming, fishing or diving.
According to Director Fitzgerald, Kēōkea Beach Park’s completion is significant because it is the department’s final Kiholo Bay earthquake-related project, joining Ikuo Hisaoka Gym at Kamehameha Park, Pa‘auilo Gym Annex and many others that underwent safety repairs before being reopened for public use.