(BIVN) – A vacant lot used by the community for parking adjacent to the Kamuela Post Office and community schools is being targeted for purchase, lawmakers told the Waimea Community Association on Thursday evening.
At the town hall meeting, Senator Lorraine Inouye said she will prioritize a $1.6 million Capital Improvement Project (CIP) request for the 2018 Legislative budget to purchase the lot, which is is owned by Parker Ranch.
Although it is often flooded, the vacant lot has allowed Waimea Elementary and Middle School families and staff, post office patrons and others in the community – including Kahilu Theatre patrons – to park on the gravel. However, the ranch recently announced it must sell the commercially-zoned parcel to fulfill other obligations to its beneficiaries, triggering widespread community concern, the Waimea Community Association reported.
Sen. Inouye said she is also “prioritizing a Senate Resolution to urge the United States Post Office to expedite relocation of the Kamuela Post Office to a site in or near town with sufficient land area to ensure adequate parking in decades to come.” The post office move will likely need the help of Hawai’i’s Congressional delegation.
The state Department of Education has not prioritized this land acquisition. Sen. Inouye hopes her CIP request will save the day before the lot is purchased by developers.
“The land is critical to the safety of children,” Sen. Inouye said in a WCA newsletter. “Given Waimea’s frequent rainy weather and the fact that over time, the schools have become completely land-locked, families with little ones, in particular, urgently need parking as close as possible to leave their cars and walk children to preschool and kindergarten classes.”
Inouye added that a proposal to locate school parking south of the middle school’s new STEAM Learning Center is not appropriate for the safety of children, families, teachers or staff.