Basketball court donation referred to council panel

WAILUKU – The Maui County Council referred to committee Friday a resolution to accept the donation of a new basketball court.

Although the Department of Parks and Recreation wanted the council to immediately consider accepting the $20,000 donation at its full council meeting Friday, members voted to hear the matter in its Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee. The move followed public testimony from people worried about the court’s proposed location at the Lahaina Civic Center tennis court area.

“It seems like the tennis community is always losing courts and not gaining,” said Frank Salvador, director of tennis at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

He said he wanted to ensure the county keeps its current inventory of tennis courts.

Chris Scharein, Maui District Tennis Association president, said he too was concerned about losing courts at the civic center. The Lahaina courts are used for tournaments, including those for youngsters, she pointed out.

While she acknowledged the courts are not frequently used, she said that’s because they are in disrepair. She added that she received a last-minute call from the Department of Parks and Recreation about the proposal.

Deputy Parks Director Brianne Savage said that details about the donation had just been wrapped up before the department was able to transmit the information to the council.

The court, called “DreamCourt,” would take the place of one tennis court at the civic center while eight others would be untouched, she said. Half of the tennis courts are new while the other half are old and unused because they are unsafe.

There is not enough money to renovate the tennis courts, Savage said, noting a new court would cost $275,000 and just resurfacing it would cost $15,000.

The donation opportunity came through contacts with EA Sports, which sponsors an annual collegiate basketball tournament during the week of Thanksgiving at the Lahaina Civic Center, Savage said.

The donation for the new basketball court would be funded by the Nancy Lieberman and the World Ventures foundations.

Savage said that the county and donors are seeking to have the court donated and ready for this year’s 30th anniversary of the tournament. The department considered other areas to place the court, but the center was the best option, she said.

Council Member Elle Cochran, who holds the council’s West Maui residency seat, asked Savage: “Is this a use it or lose it thing?”

Savage replied: “It’s a possibility.”

She added that if the council didn’t take action Friday, the administration would need to talk to the donors. The same would go if the court cannot be installed by the start of the tournament.

Some council members said they wanted more details to be discussed in committee, but they did not want to lose the opportunity for the basketball court to be donated.

“We want to try to work together, as the clock is ticking,” said Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa.

In other council matters, members on first reading approved:

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to add a $920,000 appropriation from a state grant for improvements to War Memorial Stadium. The money will be used for plans, design and construction to improve and upgrade the stadium field complex and grounds.

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to increase the estimated revenue amount for carryover savings in the highway fund by $340,000. The money will be used to resurface the upper portion of Baldwin Avenue, from Haliimaile Road to Makawao Avenue.

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to allow the Department of Water Supply to secure a $9 million appropriation of state revolving loan funds to develop the West Maui Mahinahina water well, instead of using its own generated revenue and county-issued general obligation bonds.

* Bills to revise the Maui County Code pertaining to the salaries of deputies in the Department of Corporation Counsel and Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, along with the salaries of employees within the legislative branch, effective retroactive to July 1. The salaries were adjusted to reflect similar salary increases for other county employees.

* A bill to prohibit parking on a portion of Wailani Street in Wailuku, between East Vineyard and Nani streets. Residents in the area had requested parking be prohibited to ensure safety for pedestrians and emergency and service vehicles.

And, on second and final reading, members approved:

* A bill to allow transient vacation rentals in planned developments that received final approval on or before April 20, 1981, as well as other criteria. The Puamana Planned Development and the Kaanapali Plantation Development would be the only ones that would meet the criteria, according to council documents.

* A bill amending the current fiscal budget that would increase county funding to allow for the construction of elevated storage tanks for recycled water for the West Maui Recycled Water System Expansion.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at