The State of Hawai‘i’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) recently approved the transfer of the Kea`au Armory in Puna to the County of Hawai‘i.
The final processing is in progress, and once the transfer is complete, the County Department of Parks and Recreation will utilize the Kea‘au Armory for recreational purposes such as youth enrichment program activities, after-school programs, Summer Fun and sports and fitness activities. The armory will also be available for meetings, clubs and activities, town hall meetings, and emergency shelter use.
The property is currently utilized by the Hawai‘i Army National Guard to administer their Starbase Program, an educational outreach program designed to improve skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the 5th grade level.
Discussions between the State Department of Defense and the County have resulted in an agreement that allows the Starbase Program continued use of the facility until another site can be found for the program.
In 1957, the Hawai‘i National Guard built the Kea`au Armory at the three-acre site and utilized the facilities up to the present time. However, in recent years the site and facilities became too small to accommodate the overall operations of the National Guard, which has since moved its operations to the Keaukaha Military Reservation in Hilo.