Kona Open Space Network

Nāhelehele provided support to the Kona Community Development Plan Action Committee with formulating the vision and goals of an open space network, consisting of open spaces linked by corridors.  The open space network is a key part of the Kona Community Development Plan, and it has great potential for establishing dry forest corridors in the Kona region.  Hiring a consultant to engage with the community to develop the plan for the open space network was the top 2019 priority recommendation from the Action Committee to the Hawai`i County Planning Department.  Following are the vision and goals for this open space network:

Kona Open Space Network

Vision

Kona is known for its interconnected open space network, harmoniously integrated in and around its built environment, supporting the health and wellbeing of the community and preserving sensitive natural and cultural resources.
The Kona Open Space Network consists of:
  • A living accessible coastal corridor including nearshore waters where residents and visitors alike can enjoy world renowned coastlines, beaches and clean coastal waters;
  • Culturally important natural resource areas that are appropriately stewarded and where traditional cultural practices can continue and thrive;
  • Multifunctional open spaces, corridors and view planes integrated throughout and surrounding the urban area that maintain a sense of place;
  • Regional paths, trails, greenways and greenbelts along contour corridors linked with mauka-makai connectors that create an urban trail network providing enjoyable and functional walking and biking access to open spaces and key destinations;
  • Neighborhoods where residents can walk following natural, shaded corridors to park and playground areas;
  • Learning landscapes for schools, residents and visitors who have access to natural educational spaces and interpretation of culturally significant areas and natural heritage that enhance connection with the land.

Goals

  • Create and maintain a network of open spaces in the Kona District urban area that enables public access to nature and encourages healthy, active lifestyles.
  • Create a functional, safe and attractive trail, corridor, bike path and sidewalk network that is separated from traffic where possible and allows movement around Kona with minimal reliance on the automobile.
  • Encourage the rural and agricultural character of Kona with compact and walkable urban centers surrounded by open space.
  • Anticipate and mitigate risks from natural hazards, climate change and conflict between built infrastructure and natural processes through appropriate design, policies and enhanced ecosystem services of the open space network.
  • Incorporate shoreline setback areas to the extent practical and available for realizing shoreline linear parks along as much of Kona’s coastline as possible.
  • Preserve, restore and steward sensitive natural and cultural resources and native ecosystems that are identified as part of the open space network.
  • Provide interpretative opportunities and educational material in the open space network to help school children, residents and visitors learn, appreciate and interact with Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources.

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At this point in time, the responsibility for moving forward with developing Kona’s Open Space Network Plan is with the Hawaii County Planning Department.  You can lend your support to getting this plan developed by attending the Kona Community Development Plan Action Committee meetings, where the public are invited to submit their comments at the beginning of each meeting.  Discussing this with Hawaii County Council Members from Districts 6. 7 and 8 will also help in getting this effort moving in the County.

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