By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Gov. Neil Abercromie on Friday announced the release of $91.9 million for various capital improvement projects across the state, including numerous projects on the Big Island — with $10 million earmarked for electrical and telecommunications improvements at several Big Island schools.
According to a written statement from the governor’s office, the projects were selected for their potential to immediately address priority work while stimulating the local economy and creating job opportunities.
“Our strategy to stimulate job creation and reinvigorate our economy is working,” said Abercrombie, who noted that his administration has released almost $842 million dollars in capital improvement funds this year.
The earmarks include:
•$10 million for design and construction of various electrical and telecommunications systems improvements — including upgrades of electrical transformers and panels, telecommunications systems, electrical outlets and data ports, plus related site work — at Pahoa Elementary, Pahoa High and Intermediate, Mountain View Elementary, Keonepoko Elementary, Keaau Middle and Naalehu Elementary schools.
• $2 million of design and construction funds for a remodeling of Pomaikai Homes senior housing in Hilo to remodel the facility, including roof replacement, exterior painting and gutting of interior spaces to install new kitchens, baths and windows.
• $750,000 for design and renovation of 62 boarded-up and abandoned homes in Lanakila Housing in Hilo. The project will allow the homes in the 50-year-old public housing complex to be rented to qualifying families.
• $500,000 in design funds for Hilo International and Kona International airports to improve aircraft rescue and firefighting facilities improvements and to plan for a future regional aircraft rescue and firefighting training facility.
• $193,000 for improvements to the state’s Anueanue radio system to acquire and install equipment and antennas to correct radio frequence interference for the digital microwave radio link between Kaupulehu in Kona and Humuula in the “saddle” area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
• $25,000 for improvements to the bee hive research facility at the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management farm in Panaewa. Funds will be used to add a fiberglass greenhouse covering with gutters to the existing apiary to protect it and shield the 800-square-foot research hive area from rain.
Other funds released Friday that will benefit the Big Island include $10 million for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance construction funding for various state and federal public housing projects including Hale Aloha O Puna, Lokahi and Pomaikai.