Gym Damaged By Earthquakes Still Awaiting Repairs

Joe Carvalho
Joe Carvalho

KOHALA, BIG ISLAND (KHNL)- What started as feelings of sadness has turned into feelings of deep frustration for Kohala residents who want to see their damaged neighborhood gym fixed.

Last October's earthquakes left the Hisaoka gym intact on the outside, but when residents went to assess the damage inside, they saw debris scattered everywhere, and lights hanging from the ceiling.

It wasn't anything they thought they couldn't fix on their own says Joe Carvalho.

"We saw the tiles and stuff and thought maybe it was just aesthetic."

But inspectors found the entire building badly damaged and unsafe.

The Hisaoka gym suffered more than two million dollars in damage and a year later, little has been done.

No one has been allowed back in to clean up.

So, the meeting rooms and the basketball court is in the same state as it was since the earthquakes.

"It's disappointing," says Carvalho. "Of course the highschool basketball team that was a sad one. The sad thing was, they were playing away and here we come this year and it's still not done and we got to do it again and find another spot."

The hold up, the county says, has been finding a contractor to take on the big job of fixing Hisaoka gym.

"They went out there and tried to get the bids and nobody bid it, this is in July. We know the government works slow, but it is so frustrating, people are really frustrated with this," Carvalho says.

The Department of Parks and Recreation says it hopes to secure a contractor by October 25th and begin the first phase of construction about two months later.

For now, the neighborhood sports teams will be able to play closer to home on a new outdoor court while they continue to wait for their home-court to re-open.