It has taken decades, but advocates for saving the Ka Iwi Coast from development celebrated victory Thursday.
The last two parcels of the seven-mile coastline have been turned over to the community and will remain preserved.
Over the years, there have been proposals by developers to transform the area into resorts, luxury subdivisions, even vacation cabins.
"It would be just another Waikiki or Ko Olina, but we've preserved it so it's not going to be. We got out and we did phone banks. We did walking. We did everything we could possibly do to get people interested," said Betty Daly, an east Oahu resident who has been fighting to protect the Ka Iwi Coast since the 1980s.
The latest land deal -- which covers 182 acres -- cost about $4 million and was made possible by a partnership between government and community. The City contributed $2.5 million and the State kicked over $1 million. Meanwhile, the grassroots campaign raised more than $600,000 from individual donors in less than four months.
"Some of that money had to be used over the last year for carrying the loan, so I would like to be able to go back and let the community know just how much money we have left so that we can continue the good work," said Elizabeth Reilly, president of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.
Now that the entire Ka Iwi coastline has been secured, community members say the important work can begin. Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, a non-profit group, is the designated landowner of the latest two parcels and will be responsible for taking care of the land going forward.
Members say they'll begin studying the land to develop a conservation plan, as well as the best way to provide public access to beaches and hiking trails in the area.
"When we take a look at the cultural and natural resources, we'll see what type of native fauna is already there and what can we do to help it. We are not able to move mountains, but we can certainly save them," said Reilly.