State could oversee maintenance of dilapidated Pearl City cemetery under new bill

Local News

KHON2 has been tracking the conditions at Sunset Memorial Park in Pearl City for more than a year.

Last year, we reported that community volunteers wanted to help fix ongoing problems like sinking graves and overgrown weeds.

Now we’re learning, there’s an effort to get the state to step in.

We met Valerie Kiili at the cemetery on Tuesday, while she was cleaning up the area where her family is buried.

She said the cemetery “was like a jungle” when she arrived that morning.

On Friday, her father will have been buried there for three decades.

Volunteers wanted to help maintain the cemetery, but they had questions about liability issues. Now lawmakers are introducing a bill to get some action.

HB1840 calls for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to step in.

“I think what the bill does is force the state to come up with possible solutions,” said Rep. Gregg Takayama, D, Pearl City, who helped introduce the bill.

Takayama says the condition of the cemetery is unsafe, and lawmakers don’t want anyone helping out to get hurt.

When asked who is responsible for upkeep, Takayama said “it’s not clear at all.” He says he hopes to make some progress with the bill this season.

In a statement, DCCA’s professional and vocational licensing administrator Celia Suzuki said: “DCCA is currently reviewing HB 1840. As indicated in the past, the department is open to discussing any and all options for the long term maintenance of Sunset Memorial Park.”

“It’s like being forgotten. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” Kiili said.

KHON2 also reached out to Reverend Lago Dozin, the cemetery’s owner, to ask what he thinks about the bill, but has not heard back.

Not too long ago, he told families he would fix the ongoing problems at Sunset Memorial Park.

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