By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $5 million that will be used toward the construction of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex, currently under construction in Waikapū.
The funds will be used to complete the softball fields in Phase I of the project, and to begin Phase II to develop the Little League baseball fields at the park, according to information released by the governor.
When complete, the sports complex will include a high school baseball field (to be completed in Phase I), four softball fields (two in Phase I), four Little League baseball fields (to be constructed during Phase II), soccer fields, comfort stations (two in Phase I), concession stands, and parking.
Phase 1 of the project will cost approximately $14.8 million, with an additional $5 million appropriated in fiscal year 2015 for future phases of the park, according to information compiled by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
In releasing the funds today, Governor Abercrombie said, “I was on Maui last month to help break ground on a sports complex  that will provide a variety of recreational opportunities, along with social and economic benefits to the residents of the Valley Isle and the entire state. This is just one of many DLNR projects to improve our state parks system and natural resources.”
Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui, who also attended last month’s groundbreaking, also commented in a press release saying, “This sports complex addresses the needs of Central Maui’s growing community. It will provide a place for families and athletes of all ages to play. Central Maui Regional Sports Complex could also serve as a revenue generator for Maui as well as the State of Hawaii as teams use the park for tournaments.”
The groundbreaking ceremony for the 65-acre project was held on July 31, and construction began on Sept. 2, 2014 . Work is slated for completion by December 2015.
On the same day that construction began on the project, the nonprofit Maui Lani Neighbors Inc. filed a lawsuit  in Second Circuit Court challenging the legality of the project alleging failure to follow environmental, planning and zoning laws.
In addition to the funding release for the Maui project, the governor also released $2.922 million for capital improvement program administrative costs statewide. The governor said the general obligation bond funds will finance wages and fringe benefits of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ project-funded staff positions for FY 2015.
The governor also released $250,000 for rockfall and flood mitigation projects statewide, including funds to address rockfall hazards above Makiki Valley Trail on Oʻahu.