VIDEO/PHOTOS: Governor Impressed with reWailuku Site VisitFebruary 9, 2012, 2:01 PM HST · Updated February 10, 5:43 PM 0 Comments
By Wendy Osher
“I just think this is tremendous. I did not comprehend when I came, that it would be this exciting, and this comprehensive, and this original in terms of attracting people’s attention. You certainly got mine,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie who visited the ReWailuku studio on Maui today.
The reWailuku workshops were held over several weeks in January and February, and offered neighborhood residents, businesses, workers and others a chance to come together to give input as to what kind of Wailuku town they would like to see one day.
“The Mayor should be commended,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “He can take great pride in what you’ve accomplished here; and the approach to it is so friendly and inviting,” he said.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa was not on hand for the visit, but is presenting the project as part of the agenda on his current mainland visit with the Council of Mayors.
Those who stopped by talked to County planners about shops, walking paths, greenery, parking and other ideas that they believed would make Wailuku a true gathering place again.
“I think it’s a beautiful combination of trying to comprehend and understand and utilize existing density without being discouraged by it,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
“In the instance of Wailuku, it’s an opportunity to take a town concept that would otherwise be a nostalgic after effect,” said the governor. “We can replicate the human dimension and put it into a contemporary context. That’s what I get from this,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
Among those in attendance was Dan Burden, the man Time Magazine called one of the six most important civic innovators in the world. He is hosting walking audits of the streets, sidewalks, and schools across Maui this week and next, sharing his ideas on improving walking and bike safety.
“Each time we lead a walking audit, the people who come, tell the stories of what their neighborhoods once were and what they want to get back,” said Burden. “It’s becoming a tool to rebuild any city of any size to take that walk and understand where the street fell apart, and how to stitch it back together again.”
Additional walking events include:
- 8 a.m. Friday, February 10: Walk Audit at the Kalana O Maui Building in Wailuku;
- 4 p.m. Friday, February 10: Walkable and Livable Communities and Safe Routes to Schools presentation at the reWailuku site;
6:30-8 p.m., Monday, February 13: Planning and Designing Walkable and Liveable Communities on Maui, Kalama Intermediate School in Makawao
- 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, February 15: Presentation on findings and recommendations in Makawao, at the Pookela Church;
- 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 16: Safe Route to Schools presentation, Kamalii School in Kihei;
- 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, February 17: NPAC Annual meeting Nahele Banquet room, Kahili Golf Course ($10 donation to UH Foundation requested) Reservations required by Feb. 13, 2012 for the annual meeting.
“Ooka Supermarket, Kress Store, Ikeda’s Roland’s Shoes, Gilberts, Wakamastsu Fish Market, Yokouchi Bakery . . . these were family operations that made up the heart and soul of Wailuku town,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa in an earlier statement on the project. “They’re gone now but Wailuku has good bones, we can rebuild it and create a new community if we plan it right. But for that to happen people need to come forward and be a part of the discussion.”
The Governor began his Valley Isle visit with a stop at the Maui Economic Opportunity Office in Wailuku, where he provided remarks to the Maui Non-Profit Directors Association.
He then visited the Maui County Planning Department’s reWailuku studio workshop, and wrapped up his visit by providing remarks at a luncheon before the Women in Renewable Energy group at UH Maui College this afternoon.