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State seeks to add parking, showers at Makena park

Popular beach park has long been without permanent restroom facilities

Makena State Park includes a sandy beach that stretches 3,300 feet and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, but there are no restrooms or outdoor showers. The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks proposes to develop two new “comfort stations” and improve parking stalls within the park. This photo was taken on Aug. 2021. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

A $2 million project that would add bathrooms and showers, nearly 140 parking stalls and other improvements is being proposed for the highly visited Makena State Park.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks is looking to develop two new “comfort stations” with the state park, which currently has no permanent restrooms and no running water or showers.

“The proposed project will provide sanitation facilities to promote a clean and safe environment and to prevent pollution of the environment which may occur when restrooms are not available to park users,” according to the project’s draft environmental assessment, which was published Thursday in the state Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice.”

The two new comfort stations located on the north-end and south-end parking lots at Makena State Park will feature men’s and women’s restrooms, sinks, bottle-filling stations and two outdoor showers. The project also includes additional marked and paved parking stalls within two existing parking areas that span about 1.75 acres.

According to the report, wastewater from the comfort stations will be retained in two below-ground wastewater containment tanks for removal by a pump truck and off-site treatment. Showers will drain to an on-site drainage basin.

A $2 million-project to improve infrastructure is being proposed for the highly visited Makena State Park. The Maui News file photo

Signage displaying “shower rules” would be installed, asking users to not use soaps and shampoos that would harm marine life and damage coral reefs.

Parking improvements include paving, striping, signage, guardrail and related improvements to the existing unpaved parking areas along the access driveways within the existing parking areas.

Although these improvements would include 41 additional marked stalls at the southern site and 97 additional marked stalls at the northern site, there will be no expansion in use as park users are already using these existing areas for parking, according to the report.

“The existing parking facilities are insufficient to accommodate the number of park users, creating congestion as vehicles park outside of defined stalls within the parking lot or along the driveway or roadway,” the report said. “The proposed project would provide marked stalls to replace the improvised and disorganized parking of vehicles along the existing parking area driveway, and the number of vehicles in the lot will be limited to the capacity of the marked stalls to prevent overcrowding.”

Each year, hundreds of thousands of beach goers visit Makena State Park, where an undeveloped sandy beach stretches about 3,300 feet long and 100 feet wide.

Starting April 19 of this year, all park visitors who are not Hawaii residents were required to pay for parking and entrance.

Located within the Mo’okini and Mo’oloa ahupua’a within the district of Honua’ula, the park was named Makena upon its establishment as a state park in 1971.

A cultural impact assessment was completed for the project by ‘Aina Archaeology in May and community consultation was done through in-person interviews or via email with Hawaiian cultural advisers and organizations.

The Makena State Park improvements project is expected to cost $2,090,495 in state funds and take about a year to complete.

Additional public comments on the proposed project are due by Jan. 24 and can be sent to planning consultant Munekiyo Hiraga at planning@munekiyo hiraga.com, though comments should address the DLNR.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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