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Anaina Hou Community Park wants to build disaster-proof domes; learn more Friday

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A preliminary concept study of the Kaua‘i Resilience Center. Photo Courtesy: Kauairesilience.org

Anaina Hou Community Park – spread alongside Kūhiō Highway on the North Shore of Kaua‘i – is fun.

The 15-acre venue boasts a playground and a miniature golf course winding through a tropical garden. Award-winning musicians grace its stage during regular concerts. Weddings, farmers markets, standup comedy and fire shows all take place there.

But what if – alongside its established entertainment facilities – Anaina Hou constructed three, two-story “disaster-proof” domes known as the Kaua‘i Resilience Center, for use as a community resource and shelter?

That’s what Anaina Hou CEO Jill Lowry and others, who are concerned by what they say is a lack of disaster-proof shelters on Kaua‘i, would like to see happen.

They’re now ready to share their ideas with the community. The first of at least two planned informational meetings about the Kaua‘i Resilience Center will be held this Friday at Anaina Hou from 6:30 to 8 p.m.


“[The meeting] is a very limited space. It’s not meant to be a town hall. It’s meant to be, ‘Come in, have a little bit of food, sit at a table, hear about it and then have conversations both at the table level with your tablemates and then on a broader level with questions,'” said Lowry.

“It’s opening it up, little by little, to the community. Whoever wants to come and either share their concerns, or learn how to get involved, or learn what exactly are we doing,” Lowry continued. “It’s going to change the landscape, to have three big domes right off the highway in Kīlauea.”

The August 2023 tragedy of Lāhainā, which saw a wildfire kill dozens while leveling the historic Maui town, has lent urgency to the Kaua‘i Resilience Center’s cause.

“The recent tragic fires on Maui have prompted a lot of thought and concern about disaster pre-mitigation planning here on Kauaʻi,” said Kurt Last, CEO of the Kaua‘i North Shore Food Pantry.

On the Garden Isle – often claimed to be the wettest place on Earth – rain, rather than flame, is more likely to cause natural disaster.


Lowry pointed to the historic 2018 “rain bomb” that dropped nearly 50 inches of water in 24 hours as a recent example. The storm caused severe flash flooding and estimated damages of nearly $180 million while damaging or destroying 532 homes. Landslides left people along the North Shore of Kaua‘i without access to their homes for months.

“Infrastructure on the North Shore is very challenged. It’s a long ways away. It’s got narrow roads,” Lowry said. “We started looking at what kind of infrastructure could we add to the North Shore community that would be beneficial.”

Hence the domes, which would be able to house between 1,000 and 1,500 individuals during an emergency, depending on the buildings’ floor plans.

“The domes are very, very unique. They withstand 290 mph-plus winds. That’s either a category five hurricane or an F5 tornado. They’re completely fireproof … and highly earthquake resilient,” Lowry said.

When not serving as emergency shelters, the three Anaina Hou domes would house units dedicated to public health and safety services; vocational training; and cultural culinary entrepreneurship, food processing and preservation, and disaster mass feeding.


“[The Kaua‘i Resilience Center] serves as a model for the entire state and addresses the need for new structures that can withstand the increasingly aggressive ramifications of climate change while also allowing customization of the buildings to meet the needed services unique to each individual community,” said Darrah Kauhane, the executive director of Project Vision Hawai‘i.

To register to attend the Kaua‘i Resilience Center informational event in the Porter Pavilion at Anaina Hou Community Park on Jan. 19, click this link. Space is limited.

A second informational event will be held on Feb. 16.

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."
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