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Signs to highlight Historic Downtown Hilo


Hilo Downtown Improvement Association will install two new interpretive signs at Kalakaua Park and at the Naha/Pinao stones in front of the Hilo Public Library on Saturday, December 19, to celebrate the rich history of community places in Historic Downtown Hilo.

The new signs are part of a broader interpretive initiative promoted by the community through the Envision Downtown Hilo 2025 Plan.

The Kalakaua sign will be unveiled at 11:45 a.m. as part of the Music in the Park celebration put on by the East Hawaii Cultural Center, featuring performances by Brittany Paiva and Ozzie Kotani.

The Naha stone sign will be unveiled at 5 p.m. on Saturday with a brief ceremony and hula by kumu hula Paul Neves and his halau at the library.

The media and public are invited to attend both events.

Kalakaua Park has been Hilo’s Town Square for over a century. The property was the site of the first sheriff’s office and courthouse in the late 1800’s and was dedicated as a public park in honor of King David Kalakaua in 1930. The park has been the site of great celebrations and events, and continues to be an active venue of community arts and cultural activities. The sundial in the park was donated to the people of Hilo by King Kalakaua and was, for decades, the best way to find out what time it was in Hilo.

The Spiritual Power of Stones is celebrated in the signage to be placed near the Naha and Pinao stones in front of the Hilo Public Library. These are important artifacts of Hilo’s Native Hawaiian traditions and are a link to early ali’i in the region. Kamehameha I is said to have confirmed the prophesy of his rise to power by moving this massive stone when he was a young man.

The signs are funded by a grant from the County of Hawaii, Envision Downtown Hilo (EDH) program and were supported by Councilman Donald Ikeda’s contingency funds in 2008.

The signage design committee included Jeff Melrose (HDIA), Dolly Strazar (Lyman Museum), Dennis Taniguchi (EHCC), Claudine Fujii (Hilo Public Library), Paul Neves (Royal Order of Kamehameha), Skylark Rosetti (HIEDB), Sam Pulu’ole (HDIA), and Val Ferrari (Windward Designs).

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