Land Purchase Closes for Kula Ag Park Expansion
Maui County’s purchase of 262 acres of A&B agriculture land in the lower Pūlehu/Ōmaʻopio area of Kula has closed escrow, according to information released today by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
County officials say the purchase will allow the county to nearly double the size of its current agriculture park lands.
According to the County announcement, the land acquisition was made possible by the efforts of State Representative Kyle Yamashita, securing $5 million in general obligation bond funds through the State of Hawaiʻi, and Governor Ige releasing the funds earlier in December. In addition, Maui County provided $1 million in funding.
“Expanding land availability for small diversified farmers has been an important goal for me,” said outgoing Mayor Alan Arakawa. “The county can provide low cost, long term leases which provides the farms with stability.”
“This acquisition represents four years of negotiations on various pieces of land in the vicinity of the Kula Agriculture Park,” said Teena Rasmussen, outgoing director of OED. “None of the parcels previously considered were ideal. Once HC&S shut down their operations, the focus turned to their lands.”
Mayor Arakawa negotiated directly with A&B executives. County officials say OED will now turn its focus to securing funding to install the infrastructure to get the land in the hands of farmers.