HAENA — At a celebration to mark the coming reopening of Haena State Park Wednesday, Gov. David Ige signed a bill introduced by state Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura to extend disaster relief funds for areas affected by the 2018 floods.
HB329 HD1 SD2 amends the Kauai flooding disaster relief appropriation made in Act 12, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018. The new bill extends the lapse date of the appropriation to June 30, 2020 and allows funds to be used for mitigation.
“This one-year extension gives the state, the County of Kauai, and the City and County of Honolulu one additional year to continue the important work of rebuilding more resilient communities,” Nakamura said.
The April 2018 rainfall record resulted in flooding that damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes in Hawaii.
Lawmakers later passed legislation to provide $100 million in relief for communities on Kauai, East Oahu and Waimanalo.
On Kauai’s North Shore, the flooding also washed out much of Kuhio Highway, which has since been closed to the general public but is expected to reopen later this month.
On Wednesday, residents, emergency responders, construction workers, and public officials gathered with song and prayer to celebrate the reopening of Haena State Park.
A Haena State Park plan caps the number of visitors to Haena Beach Park to 900 a day and limited parking will be available by online reservation. A shuttle system is expected to ease traffic.
The park is not yet accessible to the public.
Ige thanked the Legislature for what he called the quickest action he’s ever seen in getting funding to a community in need. He also recognized Haena/Wainiha as a model for sustainable tourism.
“Haena is home to the first Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area in Hawaii, which provides a pathway for community management of ocean resources. Congratulations for being a model for the rest of Hawaii,” he said.
This story has been changed to reflect that the celebration was held to mark the coming reopening of Haena State Park.