In Hawaii, the U.S. Navy has long called community of Kalaeloa home.
In fact, Kalaeloa is located on the site of former Naval Air Station Barbers Point that was active for 57 years of service from 1942 until 1999, when it was closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and transferred to the state of Hawaii.
Now, on April 25, 2023, the Navy is showing the community some love, in the form of a $6 million investment in its revitalization.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment (EI&E) and Chief Sustainability Officer Meredith Berger has announced a key commitment of $6 million to an historic Oahu community.
“This community has history and significance, and is one that our institution and our people have called home. We believe in the vision for its future,” said Berger.
“The commitment we announce today, the planned collaboration with key partners, and the potential we see in the long-term plan here are all efforts we are proud to support,” she added.
Working with Hawaiian Electric (HECO), the Hawaii Community Development Authority, Hawaii Congressional delegations, local elected officials, and other community partners, the Department of the Navy’s commitment of funding will renovate the electrical grid supplying the Kalaeloa community.
With the commitment of initial funding, the Navy and HECO will create and assess a work plan to support the planning, development, approval processes and affiliated phased timing to achieve this critical first step towards the planned revitalization.
“We are grateful to share the common goal of community building with the Navy, and are thankful for the work of our congressional delegation, state and county lawmakers, Secretary Berger, the Navy, Community members and everyone else involved, because this will ensure the Kalaeloa community has the reliable electricity it needs to thrive,” said Craig Nakamoto, executive director of Hawaii Community Development Authority.
“This critical infrastructure improvement will encourage long needed growth and revitalization, including housing and mixed-use development, in the Kalaeloa community,” he continued.
Specifically, this financial support will enable the design and construction of a new distribution system to improve reliability, facilitate the transition of all utility customers to become part of the Hawaiian Electric system.
It’s a first step towards the Hawaii Community Development Authority’s Kalaeloa Master Plan and other revitalization, and resilience efforts for this area and its people.
“In my portfolio I focus on three ‘Cs’: communities, critical infrastructure, and climate action,” Berger concluded. “Strong critical infrastructure is foundational to a community and today we take a first step toward making a more resilient Kalaeloa.”
Secretary Berger is visiting Hawaii as part of a series of visits across the country from Earth Day to Arbor Day to demonstrate the work of the Department of the Navy and the EI&E portfolio to highlight the importance of Communities, Climate Action, and Critical Infrastructure.
Featured photo (by Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Hall) shows Meredith Berger speaking with members of the Hawaii Military Affairs Council, after announcing the commitment of $6 million of funding to modernize the electrical grid supplying the Kalaeloa community April 25, 2023.