Work continues on new columbaria at the East Hawaii Veterans Cemetery No. 2 in Hilo to replace ones that were vandalized.
Isemoto Contracting Co. is the lead contractor on the $1.59 million project to design and install the concrete urn niches at veterans cemeteries on Hawaii Island, Maui, Lanai and Molokai. The Hilo phase takes the largest chunk at $707,000, said Jason Armstrong, public affairs specialist with the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
“The state has to up-front money for the project,” which is then fully reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said Lt. Col. Neal Mitsuyoshi, the Honolulu-based chief engineer for the state Department of Defense. The project is being overseen by the state Department of Accounting and General Services.
Isemoto received its notice to proceed last Dec. 21 and is targeting a completion date of Oct. 15.
“They expect that they will be able to complete the Hilo phase in August,” Armstrong said.
The five columbaria now under construction will have 640 niches, or 128 niches per columbarium.
Mitsuyoshi said the cemetery had small columbaria, but skateboarders were “ramping their skateboards” on them, breaking it and exposing the urns. As a result, the columbaria were removed.
“I don’t know if they knew” what they were doing, Mitsuyoshi said. “They actually cracked up the marble face plate.”
The columbaria are expected to meet the demand for urn spaces for 20 years or more, Mitsuyoshi said.