Published in The Maui News, March 27, 2016
By MIKE WHITE, for The Maui News
On March 18, the council passed several measures to promote recreational opportunities for Maui County residents.
By Resolution 16-40, the council granted a lease, for a nominal fee of $1 per year, to allow for the continuation of community horseback-riding opportunities at the Tom Morrow Equestrian Arena in Haiku for the next 19 years. The council commended the nonprofit organization that operates the facility for its dedication to the sport of horseback riding for the benefit of local residents.
The county’s $1.2 million acquisition of the Waiakoa Gym (also known as the Kula Gym) from the Maui Federal Credit Union was authorized by Resolution 16-41. The purchase ensures perpetual volleyball and basketball use at the only gymnasium in Upcountry Maui.
The council also authorized a parks assessment agreement for the Kamalani Subdivision in Kihei and gave initial approval to a budget amendment for a greens roller, utility cart, fuel tanks and a pumping system at the Waiehu Golf Course.
Bill 30, establishing a new chapter in the Maui County Code to establish revised policies for parks and recreational facilities, was passed on first reading. The legislation, which would streamline and clarify policies on the use of county equipment, fields and community centers, is up for second and final reading on Friday at 9 a.m.
Also on Friday morning’s council agenda is a bill to approve an additional $200,000 to purchase a new firetruck for the Pukoo Fire Station on Molokai. The council had previously appropriated $500,000 for the “pumper truck” – which is used on the front lines of fires – but the winning bid came in at nearly $700,000.
The council will also consider a resolution to approve the county’s application for a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the federal government’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
The proposed CDBG grant application seeks funding for the following six projects:
- $141,100 to Maui Economic Opportunity for a 25-passenger bus with wheelchair capacity for the Molokai Expanded Rural Shuttle Service.
- $115,639 to Maui Economic Opportunity for another 25-passenger bus with wheelchair capacity for the Molokai Expanded Rural Shuttle Service.
- $200,000 to Hale Mahaolu for building rehabilitation and removal of asbestos at the Lahaina Surf apartment complex.
- $284,100 to The Maui Farm for facility rehabilitation and energy conservation.
- $384,298 to Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers for repair and replacement of deteriorating staircases and decks.
- $244,136 to the J. Walter Cameron Center for building rehabilitation, an energy-efficient parking-light system and parking-lot improvements.
The new Lanai Community Plan is in the final stages of review by the Maui County Council, following years of review by the council’s Planning Committee, the Lanai Community Plan Advisory Committee, the Lanai Planning Commission and the Department of Planning. Council members, the advisory bodies and Lanai residents agree the Lanai Community Plan will help preserve the island’s natural and historic resources, while providing a blueprint for sustainable development and positive change. The plan will be considered for first reading on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Public testimony will be accepted.
The current draft of the new Lanai Community Plan includes the following observations:
“Lanai was and is the Pineapple Island; while the plantation is gone, the Pineapple remains the symbol of hospitality and warmth.”
“We honor our unique heritage by preserving many of our archaeological and cultural sites and by maintaining Lanai City’s special sense of place as the last intact plantation town in Hawaii.”
The plan’s “guiding principles” include:
“Diversify the economy to provide opportunities and resiliency through time.”
“Provide opportunities for the island’s keiki to live and work on Lanai.”
* Mike White is chairman of the Maui County Council. He holds the council seat for the Paia-Haiku-Makawao residency area. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters. Go to mauicounty.us for more information.