On Thursday night, November 16, the Pearl City Neighborhood Board will unveil a proposal to cover the five-acre site of Sunset Memorial Park with solar panels.
Since the owner passed away in 2011, the neglected cemetery has degenerated into a magnet for grave robbers, vandals, overgrown vegetation, and sunken graves. “We’ve had hundreds of complaints, and the majority have been about the homeless and people trespassing and desecrating it,” said Pearl City Neighborhood Board Chairman Larry Veray. Veray has partnered with community groups and area legislators to address this situation.
“A long-term plan for Sunset Memorial Park has been elusive,” says Representative Gregg Takayama (House District 34, Pearl City, Waiau, Pacific Palisades), “I have gotten the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to map out all the grave sites, and earlier this year legislators passed a resolution requiring DCCA to come up with answers to this decades old problem.”
In August, Sen. Glenn Wakai (Senate District 15, Kalihi, Māpunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Ᾱliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, and portions of ʻAiea and Pearl City) participated in a tour of the area organized by Veray. He noticed an electrical substation on the other side of a fence. “I immediately saw that as the golden ticket out of this deplorable situation,” says Sen. Wakai. “What if we could bring in revenues by turning Sunset Memorial into a power plant? That will bring in funds for fences and security, plus it’s a way to provide cheap electricity for neighbors.”
Wakai requested a study by the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office. Their analysis showed that covering the site with solar panels could net a $7 million profit in twenty years. This proposal will be the subject of the Town Hall meeting.
WHAT: Pearl City Neighborhood Board:
The Future of Sunset Memorial Park
WHEN: Thursday, November 16 at 6:00 pm
WHERE: Waiau District Park,
98-1650 Kaahumanu Street
Pearl City, HI 96782
The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Attorney General will update stakeholders on the status of the trust and what legal steps will be necessary to move the cemetery into private ownership.
Hawaiian Electric will also describe how Community Based Renewable Energy adds to Hawaiʻi’s grid and lowers costs to subscribers.