HILO, Hawaii – A thoroughly renovated Waiākea Recreation Center was reopened this evening following a public blessing and rededication ceremony that drew hundreds of people to the popular Hilo facility.
Mayor Billy Kenoi, County Council Chairman J Yoshimoto and Hilo Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi were among the dignitaries who praised the $1.7 million, five month makeover that improved structural safety, accessibility and user comfort.
“I’m just here to say thank you to so many who made this project possible,” said Mayor Kenoi, who noted 32 different organizations use Waiākea Recreation Center.
“This is where our children learn sportsmanship, hard work and pride,” the Mayor added.
In performing the blessing, Renee Godoy, senior pastor at Glad Tidings Church, recalled how senior classes offered at the facility helped her mother as she battled mental illness.
“As I look out, there is young, and there is old,” Godoy said. “This facility is not just a building; it’s a gathering place.”
Stan’s Contracting Inc. repaired extensive termite and water damage, repaved the parking area, connected the facility to the County’s wastewater system, renovated the bathrooms and showers, and installed new roof insulation and ceiling fans. Also, hazardous building materials were removed, fresh paint was applied throughout, and design changes were implemented to make the facility accessible to the physically disabled.
Numerous volunteers performed needed painting, interior repairs and other work that saved taxpayer money and expedited the project.
The Department of Parks and Recreation wishes to thank the Shudokan Judo Club, the Hilo Seishikan Aikido Club, the Hilo Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido Club, and the Kongo Zen Shorinji Ryu Son Ryu Karate Club for helping renovate the facility.
The building first opened as a Sure Save Super Market in 1953. After the market closed, the building was transferred to the County and re-opened as the Waiākea Recreation Center in 1971. The first director of the facility, Yoshio Obasa, was present at this evening’s ceremony.
The department also wishes to recognize the following organizations for their monetary contributions and/or volunteer efforts toward improving Waiākea Recreation Center: Hilo Reshinkan Kendo Club; Hilo Tae Kwon Do Association; Waiākea Judo Club; Hawai‘i International Karate League; Hilo Kobukan Kendo Club; Hayaite Shotokan Karate; Atkins Martial Arts; Mo Min Kuen; Danish Fitness; Morning Fitness; Evening Fitness; and Insane Workout.
For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or firstname.lastname@example.org.