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Council approves federal funds for Lima Ola affordable housing project

LIHU‘E — Long-term plans for the County of Kaua‘i’s affordable housing subdivision project in ‘Ele‘ele moved forward on Wednesday, as council members voted to approve receipt of $12.72 million in federal funding for infrastructure and water systems for the Lima Ola Workforce Housing Development.

The county aims to create 550 new, affordable, single- and multi-family housing units through the development, which is being built in four phases and will take about a decade to complete, according to Kaua‘i Housing Agency Director Adam Roversi.

The agency’s mission is to create more affordable housing and support community development on the island.

A total of $7.72 million was approved for phase 2 infrastructure for the development of 172 affordable homes on the project’s 75 acres of county-purchased land. The funding will go toward the installation of roads, water lines, sewer services, stormwater drainage and electric systems.

The council also approved an additional $5 million for a water system, which Roversi explained is a required condition for the phase 2 infrastructure. Roversi told council members that the new water system would also serve to improve water conditions and fire flow needs for the entire area, which includes Hanapepe, ‘Ele‘ele and Port Allen.

The council was quick to approve the funding on Wednesday, spending only a couple of minutes on both agenda items.

“That was expected,” said Roversi in an interview with The
Garden Island later that day. “We’ve had items related to Lima Ola in front of council for years, so it’s not something that they need a lot of briefing and more information on. Accepting free federal money is kind of a no-brainer.”

The funding for both the infrastructure and water system projects will come from the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations congressionally directed spending funds for fiscal year 2023.

Roversi said the agency requested a total of $12 million in funding for phase 2 infrastructure from the federal government, but the $7.72 million “will cover the bulk” of the project. The project will depend on county housing development funds to provide the remaining amount.

“We’re happy with what we received. And we’ll have to fill the gap, if there is a gap, in funding, with additional county funds. But we wouldn’t even be asking for that until next fiscal year and next year’s budget,” said Roversi.

Roversi estimated that work on the phase 2 infrastructure would be able to start in nine to 12 months, and the water tank’s construction would start in six to nine months.

“We don’t even have construction plans yet. So you can’t build the road, the water, the sewer, all that stuff, without detailed construction drawings, and all have to be approved by the county. So we’re only just starting the process of doing all the plans,” he said of phase 2 of the subdivision’s development.

Phase one infrastructure of Lima Ola was completed in January 2022. Projects within the initial phase include a 24-unit supportive housing project, which is expected to be completed in November. The construction of another 85 units, made up of both senior and workforce housing, is expected to start next week.

Roversi said the Lima Ola Workforce Housing Development project is one of many projects that the county is working on to create more affordable housing on Kaua‘i. He referred to a similar, long-term subdivision project on 400 acres of county-owned land in Waimea, as well as a 50-acre project in Kileaua.

“It doesn’t by itself solve our housing crisis, but it’s just one more piece of the puzzle,” said Roversi of Lima Ola. “We’re very appreciative of our federal representatives and senators for being sure we get the money.”


Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or
Source: The Garden Island

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