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County: NAS pool upgrades to begin soon

Hawaii County officials are hoping construction can begin soon on court-ordered Americans With Disabilities improvements at the NAS Swimming Pool near the Hilo International Airport.

Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. on May 3 was awarded the contract at slightly less than $6.5 million. The pool, which is popular with senior citizens and recreational lap swimmers, has been closed since March 2020.

“Our notice to proceed is still pending right now,” Parks and Recreation Director Maurice Messina said last week. “The construction contract has been fully executed, and the contractor is going to submit the paperwork required for the project.

“Originally, we delayed the start of the construction project to accommodate the micro-housing units that were there while we processed our building permit applications.”

Messina said the 32 micro-housing units dubbed Hale Hanakahi, which were used for emergency homeless housing, were closed last month. He said Parks and Rec is working with the county’s Office of Housing and Community Development to find a new location for the units.

“We’re working through a couple of building permit issues, and we’re going to issue the notice to proceed when the permit is fully secured and the micro-housing units have been relocated,” he said.

County Housing Administrator Susan Kunz said the 29 individuals sheltered at Hale Hanakahi when it closed on June 9 due to “the end of available funding to support the shelter” were “provided housing options based on available bed space at existing shelters or transitioned to permanent housing.”

According to Kunz, four of the individuals transitioned to permanent housing, five declined shelter services elsewhere, and the remainder were placed in other shelters or transitional housing.

Kunz said the county “plans to continue utilizing the units to provide emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness or post disaster if housing was impacted.”

The scope of the work on the pool under the contract includes:

• demolition of the existing 2,445-square-foot pool house and construction of a new 3,287-square-foot pool house with fully accessible spaces and expanded pump and filter room;

• demolition of existing pool pump and filters, all supply and return lines, main pool drains, perimeter gutters and portions of pool basin and install of new filtration/circulation system, main pool drains, stainless steel gutters and new finish on basin;

• demolition of the majority of the existing concrete pool deck and installation of new ADA-compliant concrete pool deck and system of trench drains;

• demolition of bleachers and bleacher canopy and installation of new ADA-compliant bleachers and canopy;

• construction of new accessible parking stalls and a new accessible route into the facility from the parking lot;

• replacement and upsizing of waterlines and installation of site drainage improvements;

• and replacing on-site sewer lines and propane tank and lines.

“With this project that is going to cost right around $7 million, one of our oldest pools on the island will get a complete makeover with so many new components it’s going to feel like a brand-new pool,” Messina said.

The NAS pool is one of 16 facilities the county agreed to upgrade in a 1998 settlement of a federal lawsuit. Only six of the upgrades agreed to in the consent order have been completed.

The County Council approved a $25.5 general obligation bond float on July 21 to finance the agreed-upon improvements.

The remaining parks in the consent order include:

• Paauilo Park, $2.77 million contract awarded May 17 to Nan Inc., notice to proceed issued July 12;

• Kahuku Park, $1.495 million contract awarded May 4 to Isemoto;

• Papaaloa Park, bids opened May 20;

• Pahala Swimming Pool, intent to bid issued Aug. 23, bids to open Sept. 2;

• Richardson Ocean Park, intent to bid to be issued Sept. 7; bids to open Sept. 16;

• Milolii Beach Park, draft environmental assessment completed Aug. 8, 2020;

• Disappearing Sands Beach Park (also known as Magic Sands and Laaloa), special management area use permit approved with conditions June 16 by Leeward Planning Commission;

• Kolekole Gulch Park, special management area use permit approved with conditions Jan. 7 by Windward Planning Commission;

• South Hilo Base Yard improvements also a part of consent order and included in bond float.

Email John Burnett at
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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