Mayor Michael Victorino has sent a record $1 billion budget proposal to County Council for approval for the upcoming fiscal year.
In this budget, millions of dollars are earmarked for various programs across the county. This includes $17.2 million for upgrades to the War Memorial Gymnasium and War Memorial Track and Field, both located in Wailuku.
Here on the West Side, the Lahaina Civic Center has reopened — albeit in a cloud of dust and dirt — for public use. The facility has fallen into maintenance due to COVID-19 disarray and neglect over the past two years.
The lockers in the upstairs physical education room have been ripped out and removed, and the showers are closed and unusable. The cement walls and benches are minimally painted and look more like a prison facility than the locker room of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament, considered the best preseason college tournament in the nation.
The floor of this room is partially covered with leftover carpet purchased by one of the martial arts clubs that had used the room for 40 years before the pandemic shutdown. This same club spent the day washing the carpet and cleaning the neglected room before the reopening two weeks ago.
The basketball floor is in good condition but could definitely use some maintenance. This is especially true as the West Maui Youth Basketball League — a model program that has served some 400 keiki ages 5 to 15 from the community for more than 40 years — is soon to resume.
One can only imagine what the social room looks like downstairs. This room was the joyful party spot for graduation parties, wedding receptions, and all the West Side family gatherings that define the community’s personality.
The amphitheater, a venue for concerts and performances for the community, on the mauka side of the building faces the trade winds and the constant beatings of the elements. Again, it will take a concerted effort to clean up this section of the Civic Center.
That brings us back to the beginning of this call. Mr. Mayor (remember now, some of your family members participated in WMYBL many years ago). Would it be possible to send a small portion of that BILLION DOLLARS here on the West Side to fix the Lahaina Civic Center? Please keep us in mind. Mahalo. (By Walter Chihara)