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Ground broken for homes for Hawaiians in Hanapepe

HANAPEPE HEIGHTS — Huli ka lepo (turning of dirt) by state Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands (DHHL) dignitaries, contractors and federal and state officials marked the start of construction on Aug. 23 of a future housing site adjacent to an existing DHHL development in Hanapepe Heights.

The second phase will have 82 single-family residential lots on more than 28 acres, while the first phase consists of 47 lots. Both phases are part of a nearly 350-acre parcel.

“This project ensures that more of our ‘ohana will weave their stories into the tapestry of this cherished community,” said Hawaiian Home Commission Chair Kali Watson.

“Each plot of land here is not merely a piece of earth; it’s a testament to hope, growth and a brighter future for our homesteading families,” said Watson. “As families settle here, they don’t just receive a house; they become part of a home brimming with laughter, love and memories that will stand the test of time.”

Kali’s words were echoes of Kaua‘i-born Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, who helped create the federal Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in 1921 at a time the population of Native Hawaiians was rapidly declining. It was Kuhio’s intent to rehabilitate Native Hawaiians and keep them from dying off by returning them to the land where they could survive.

“Hanapepe is a self-sufficient place,” said Kahu Elder Charles Ortiz, who blessed the land, the people working the project and the people who will come into the project as homes are completed. “If you need water, there is the river. If you need food, there is the river, and the ocean nearby. There is not much you need to drive in to Lihu‘e for.”

The Hanapepe homestead community is envisioned as the department’s largest residential and agricultural community on Kaua‘i, the DHHL stated. The site includes some of the most fertile agricultural lands within DHHL’s holdings, and its location near Hanapepe town makes it an attractive location for homestead development.

The state Legislature appropriated $17,800,126 through the 2022 Session Laws of Hawai‘i 2022 Act 279 for the construction of infrastructure and site improvements at this Hanapepe second phase. Act 279 appropriates $600 million in general funds to provide a multi-pronged approach to reduce the DHHL wait list.

“I’m very pleased that Kaua‘i was part of this effort to access lots to people on the wait list,” said state Rep. Dee Morikawa of District 17, which covers parts of west and south Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.

Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company will start work on the project in September, and is projected to finish the job in November 2024.
Source: The Garden Island

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