Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial History

Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) all-volunteer nonprofit corporation that was privately organized in 1997 to serve as a development entity for the island’s many veterans and veterans groups.  Our original mission was to develop a one-stop combined veterans center (CVC) together with a senior independent living community, including a multi-purpose activity center and dining facility. This development was designed for senior veterans, their spouses, spouses of deceased veterans, and other eligible seniors.  A site was identified on an overgrown 7+ acre parcel of vacant public lands in Hilo along Kawili Street just below the UHH campus and was obtained for this purpose in 2004 by the Governor’s executive order.

After acquiring a start-up lease in 2005, funds were privately raised to complete an approved Final Environmental Assessment (FEA).   This was developed with all stakeholders, including the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH), neighbors and neighboring institutions, all the veterans organizations on Hawai’i Island, and the County of Hawai’i.  The FEA was completed in 2006, accepted and approved by the county, and is still valid now in 2023.

Re-zoning and subdivision into 3 separate lots for each project component (now just two) were completed by mid-2007 when the lots were graded, partially grubbed and a sewer tap installed on the lower lot.   The national financial meltdown reached Hawaii in the summer of 2008 and stopped all planned construction. With development stopped for the next 4 years, HIVM subleased the site to a private contractor to use as a base yard in exchange for periodic mowing and essential maintenance.

We resumed progress in 2012 with an improved economic outlook, a new lease, and a rejuvenated board of directors. We moved forward to our current status which updates our mission priorities to the present time, (now June 2023.)  Construction on our senior independent 92 unit living community began  in February 2023 by EAH Housing  with completion scheduled for early 2024.

After the Veterans Administration declined our offer of a shovel-ready 2 acre lot just below the 5+ acre lot for the independent senior living community, we decided to explore the options for building a medical clinic without VA help.  See   our current status for details.