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Kona Judiciary Complex Approved by the Legislature

Posted on May 5, 2015 in Press Releases

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Judiciary’s appropriations bill, which includes $55 million to fund construction of the new Kona Judiciary Complex, passed final reading today in the Senate and House of Representatives. The bill will now be transmitted to Governor Ige for his review and consideration.

“The Legislature’s action will enable us to provide the people of West Hawaii with a secure courthouse, where they can access all court services in one convenient location,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “The new courthouse will enable the Judiciary to meet the growing needs of the West Hawaii community.”

“The Judiciary is grateful to the House and Senate for their support of this important project,” added Chief Justice Recktenwald. “We appreciate the efforts of all the Big Island legislators, in particular Rep. Nicole Lowen and Sen. Josh Green, as well as the leadership of Senators Jill Tokuda, Gilbert Keith-Agaran and Ronald Kouchi, and Representatives Sylvia Luke, Karl Rhoads and Kyle Yamashita.”

“Many members of the bar supported this effort, including the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii County Bar Association, and the Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA),” Recktenwald said. “I appreciate the advocacy of HSBA president Gregory Markham, and Robert Kim, Andrew Kennedy and Carol Kitaoka of the West Hawaii Bar Association.”

Administrative Director of the Courts Rodney Maile expressed appreciation for the support of Mayor William Kenoi, the Hawaii County Council, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitchell Roth and the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

Sen. Josh Green said, “I was honored to work with the Chief Justice to get this critical funding for the West Hawaii Judiciary Complex. It was our top priority and critical for my community. The jobs that will be created will be a game changer for Kona in addition to how it will help with public safety.”

Rep. Nicole Lowen also commented saying, “The West Hawaii community has made do for years, but, with a growing population, a modern, safe, centralized courthouse facility is much needed and long overdue. I’m very pleased that we were able to include this funding in this year’s budget, and it represents a huge investment in West Hawaii.”

Hawaii State Bar Association President Gregory K. Markham added, “The new Kona Judiciary Complex will embody the essential principles of openness and fairness that represent the foundation of our justice system, while also providing adequate public access and security.”

Currently, court proceedings are held in three separate locations in Kona, in buildings not designed to serve as courtrooms. The present use of those buildings as courtrooms has created security, logistical, and operational problems.

The Judiciary plans to break ground on the new complex in the fall of 2016. The total cost of construction is $90 million. In addition to the $55 million approved today, $35 million was approved by the 2014 Legislature.

The Judiciary has created a webpage dedicated to the Kona Judiciary Complex Project to provide the public with more information, preliminary design plans, and to gather additional feedback from the community.

For more information, contact the public affairs office at 808-539-4909 or via email at pao@courts.hawaii.gov.

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