Honokaa Pool still closed

KAILUA-KONA — The Honokaa Pool remains closed several months after county officials had expected to reopen the facility to Hamakua residents.

The Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation announced the closure of the pool back in January for work that entailed rebuilding the office and bathrooms, including rafters and trusses, upgrading the total electrical system of the entire building and draining the pool to fix cracks. Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. was the lone bidder for the project at $84,200.

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Work was expected to be complete and the pool on the Honokaa High School campus reopened around the start of April, however, the discovery of hazardous materials has delayed the project, P&R Deputy Director Maurice Messina said Thursday. The pool was constructed in the 1950s.

“Because the facilities are so old we’ve had to contract out for a hazmat team to remove lead-based paint, lead-based wiring and asbestos and stuff like that,” Messina said.

Messina was unable to provide a possible reopening date Thursday, but said the delay set the construction timetable “back about a couple months.”

He expects to have an updated timeline available in the coming week, and perhaps some good news for the community, as well.

“Since the construction doesn’t affect the actual pool itself, we’re trying to work with the community to get some restricted hours in there so we can get them back in the water,” Messina said.

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During the closure, Messina said, the county has extended hours at Laupahohoe Pool “to try to get more usage out of that pool since we’ve lost hours at Honokaa Pool.”

Hawaii County operates nine pools or aquatics centers on Hawaii Island. Kona Community Aquatic Center is the only other facility closed at this time while the county works to repair the pool’s sand filtration system.

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