(BIVN) – A Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Hawaiʻi County’s Pāpa‘aloa Park Master Plan has been published in the latest edition of The Environmental Notice, and the public comment period is now open.
The document details the proposed covered play court that will replace the previous Pāpa‘aloa Gym that was demolished in 2022. “The Park and the gymnasium were constructed in the 1930s and the recreational uses and inventory have evolved with and served the Pāpaʻaloa community ever since,” the Draft EA states.
The Pāpa‘aloa Park Master Plan also envisions an expansion onto a neighboring parcel, TMK (3) 3-5-003: 035, where one or more plantation era structures will be removed during the Phase 1 development, if funding is available.
The document states that the Pāpa‘aloa Park Master Plan would involve
- a new covered play court facility (and its future expansion)
- a new community center building
- a skate park
- a playground
- picnic pavilions
- a perimeter walking path
- improvements to existing park amenities
From the background provided by the Draft EA:
In 2020, the Park and Gym were temporarily closed for construction and renovations to get the Park in compliance with the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In the fall of 2021, it was determined that the Gym was unsalvageable due to extensive deterioration attributable to insect damage, dry and wet wood rot, and general maintenance needs that went unserved for numerous years. Further, the presence of hazardous building materials in the form of lead paint, arsenic, and asbestos exacerbated scope and costs of necessary repairs. The Gym was subsequently demolished in 2022.
From the moment the County DPR informed the Pāpaʻaloa community of the need to raze the gymnasium, community members coalesced and began advocating and targeting funding for a replacement facility to serve their community. These community members were essential in securing funds for the Project. In March 2023, the CoH secured $5 million in State funding for the Project with the approval of the Governor. The Mayor and Hawaiʻi County Council matched that with $5 million in County funding, bringing the total for the Project’s planning, design, and construction to $10 million.
“The Pāpa‘aloa Park Master Plan will have a positive benefit on area residents as they currently do not have a covered area for recreational activities,” the Draft EA states. “While there may be a potential for construction-related impacts to air quality, aural environment, and traffic, area businesses may enjoy increased patronage during the construction period.”
Comments on the Draft EA are due by March 11, 2024. Send comments to the project consultants PBR HAWAII & Associates, at PapaaloaPark@pbrhawaii.com.