Milolii community center gets OK


A South Kona nonprofit group has the environmental review green light to proceed on a community center in Milolii.

Hawaii County Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd gave Paa Pono Milolii’s proposal a finding of no significant impact last month, according to the final environmental assessment published Monday.

Paa Pono Milolii has Federal Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiative funds to design and build the multipurpose community center in Milolii. The project, to be built in two phases, will cost roughly $400,000. The center will be located on state land adjacent to the shoreline within Milolii village, the assessment said.

The center will have three, single-story structures, with a total of 4,800 square feet, the largest of which will be a 4,000-square-foot community center with a covered lanai, office, visitor reception center, library and classroom. The other buildings will be guest quarters with restrooms.

Permitting and construction are expected to take about four years.

According to the assessment, proposed uses for the buildings include youth programs, intergenerational activities connecting youth and kupuna, team sports such as basketball, volleyball, and others, canoe paddling and racing, Hawaiian language classes and micro-enterprise development and training programs.

“PPM recognizes the critical need for facilities to help house its programs, as well as future community organization efforts,” the document said. “PPM believes strongly that the cycle of social problems within the Milolii and South Kona community can be broken through pro-active community programs. However, there is currently no gathering place for the community, no building to conduct and administer these programs and unite the elements of community identity and heritage.”