BY KATIE MINKUS, R(BIC) – The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is holding a public hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Hokuloa Church, 69-1600 Puako Beach Road, on the University’s request to build a state-of-the-art marine center on five acres in Puako Beach.
The University of Hawaii, hoping to build the Kalakaua Marine Education Center, recently received a Hawaii County permit to build the facility next to the Puako boat ramp and is seeking a conservation district use permit from the State.
Apparently, the approximately 40K sq. ft. center will include classrooms, laboratories, offices, computer facilities, research support facilities, dive lockers for scuba equipment storage, saltwater aquarium tanks, and will be able to accommodate small-boat repairs, maintenance and storage, as well as housing to accommodate six faculty and 50 students.
This is very exciting for our sleepy little community in Puako as it will bring additional construction jobs, and income to the community and the Kohala Coast. Not to mention, the notoriety of being chosen by the University because of our crystal-clear waters, incredible living reef, and abundance of green sea turtles.
In addition, the upgrade of the Puako boat ramp and general cleaning and clearing of the area will add yet another layer of comfort for the public who uses this boat ramp to access the ocean for fishing, diving, and other recreational boating activities.
Want to be part of the Puako community? You’re in luck. We re-opened our real estate office in Puako, next to the General Store, on August 1st. Stop in to say aloha and talk story—we’re happy to share our expertise about Puako and the rest of the Kohala Coast with you anytime.