By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
The Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal will get a makeover later this year as part of an effort by Hawaii County to make its facilities more accessible to the disabled.
The project, estimated at $400,000, will mainly involve adding wider walkways with ramps and handrails, renovations to the public restrooms and office used by the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, and construction of a ramp to the bandstand stage, adjacent to the terminal.
Painting and re-roofing are also planned for the terminal, located on Kamehameha Avenue. The bandstand will also get wheelchair accessible seating.
The project is a joint effort by the county Mass Transit Agency, and departments of Parks and Recreation, and Public Works.
Brandon Gonzalez, Public Works deputy director, said construction will take 85 days and likely begin this fall.
“We’re hoping to have bid opening by the end of May so we can proceed with the project and commence before the holidays this year,” he said.
While the project is mainly about compliance with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, the county is taking advantage of an opportunity to do a more comprehensive renovation of the facility, said Jason Armstrong, Parks and Recreation spokesman.
“We can do it one time and minimize the impact on the public,” he said.
The last major renovating was in 1988.
Gonzalez said construction will occur around any events held at the bandstand.
The downtown association sells bus tickets out of the facility and provides tourist information.
The organization will have to move at least some of its functions into a trailer during construction, but President Alice Moon said she doesn’t mind.
Moon said the renovations, which will include a larger lobby for the office, are much needed for the facility that sees more than 32,000 people a year.
“It’s important for the entire community,” she said.
“I think it will shine up the gateway for downtown,” Moon added.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.