Video courtesy Hawaii County, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
HONOKAA, Hawaii – Hawaii County’s newest playground in Honokaa was blessed on Tuesday.
Deacon Larry Ignacio did the honors. He was assisted by 4 year-old Luke Joaquin Frietas from Ka Hale O Na Keiki Preschool. After the ceremony, Luke’s classmates lined up behind the maile lei to wait for the grand unveiling by Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter. And with that, it was a full-on stampede of keiki onto the $295,000 play area.
Located next to the park’s gymnasium, the playground was designed for children 2 to 5 years old and another for bigger keiki between the ages of 5 and 12.
The modular design has multiple slides, climbing rings, covered decks and a grass-like safety surface, replacing Honokaa’s obsolete play equipment.
It was a proud moment for Honokaa native Clayton Honma, the director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
The administration says the new Honoka‘a playground is part of the County’s commitment to expand recreation island-wide to meet the needs of Hawai‘i Island’s diverse and growing population.
New playgrounds have been opened in Puna, Hilo and Kona, the Department of Parks and Recreation is currently replacing old playgrounds at Kailua Park, Gilbert Carvalho Park and Waiākea-Uka Park. Once those projects are completed, the Kenoi administration will have invested more than $3 million in new playground construction since taking office in December 2008.