Rep. Denny Coffman today praised the release of $1.526 million in design and planning funds to Laiopua 2020, an organization under the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), to build a new community center and medical clinic in Kealakehe.
“This project was my number one capital improvement priority during the 2010 legislative session,” said Rep. Coffman (District 6 –North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau.) “In addition to creating construction jobs and permanent employment, the Laiopua Community Center will provide core government service facilities in a key location of the Kailua-Kona community. I want to thank my legislative colleagues for including this project in the CIP budget during a year when we face many fiscal challenges, and applaud the Governor for releasing the funds.”
The site is next door to the 1,500-student Kealakehe High School and nearby to the 800-student Kealakehe Intermediate School and the 1,000-student Kealakehe Elementary School. On the immediate north side of this 26-acre community complex, is over 325 Native Hawaiian homes with another 900 homes in the planning stage. On the immediate south side of the community complex is the planned Kamakana Villages Project; a 2,300-unit affordable housing development being planned by Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation (HHFDC) and developed by Forest City.
According to DHHL, groundbreaking is anticipated to take place in July 2011. The community center is currently planned to include a computer lab and learning center, audio-visual center, after school and summer enrichment programs, culinary program and community kitchen, and space for community meetings and gatherings. In addition, the community center will include space for social service programs related to existing agencies.
“When completed, this project will provide childcare, healthcare, Hawaiian cultural, recreation and family support services,” continued Rep. Coffman. “The Big Island team of legislators believe that this is a model community project in the right place at the right time.”