Construction of a long-discussed public parking facility for Wailuku isn't in the "foreseeable future," although the county has spent $1.2 million in federal funds on design work and environmental studies.
The county's Department of Public Works recently completed a final environmental assessment for the five-story Wailuku municipal parking structure ahead of an August deadline to use up a federal grant for the project.
"The intent was to finish the design and permitting process and have an on-the-shelf project ready to go at such point that the mayor and (County) Council decide to appropriate funds to build it," said Public Works Director David Goode.
Motorists look for parking Wednesday afternoon at the Wailuku municipal parking lot. The county Department of Public Works has completed $1.2 million in design work and environmental studies for a five-story parking structure, but money to build the structure is not currently available.
The Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photo
The parking facility - planned for the site of the existing 210-space municipal lot bordered by Market and Vineyard streets - is expected to cost $15 million to build and take 18 months to complete.
The structure would increase the number of parking stalls to 426 on the 2-acre lot owned by the county.
"There are no funds available for construction right now, and I don't see in the foreseeable future that coming through," Goode said.
A spokesman for Mayor Alan Arakawa said the administration is considering the project, but funding likely wouldn't be included in the upcoming budget.
"We're still looking at it as well as incorporating the ideas of having more surface lots," said Rod Antone. "We're working on trying to get some redevelopment money for the garage, but we've also got some ideas about possibly incorporating a business incubator-type structure into the garage."
The economic impact portion of the environmental assessment says that the lack of parking in Wailuku town is an obstacle to economic growth because demand for parking exceeds the existing supply of stalls.
"Without additional parking, many properties will continue to be underutilized, thereby, dampening economic vitality throughout the entire district," the report said.
Overall, the environmental assessment found that the project would not have any significant environmental impacts.
It notes that the proposed structure would be the largest structure in the area in terms of total square footage and footprint, but that it would be "tucked" behind the two largest buildings on the block, the Main Street Promenade and the Wailuku Executive Center.
Goode said the project has been designed to be easily scaled back, if needed.
"The project detailed is the maximum structure that could be built, but it's relatively easy to slice off the top layers of the wedding cake if necessary," he said. "It has the flexibility to go lower."
Plans call for part of the 2-acre lot to eventually include other mixed uses such as retail, office space and residential use.
Approximately 20,500 square feet fronting Vineyard Street would be redeveloped to "facilitate the economic revitalization of the area."
"The proposed parking structure is the first step in this direction, providing parking for the eventual multiuse developments on the 20,500-square-foot remnant parcel," the study said. "The county would sell or lease portions of the land with a set of conditions that would run with the land, prescribing the uses and design specifications."
Some of the suggested uses include residential mixed use; civic/cultural education; entertainment mixed use; municipal office; and retail.
The final environmental assessment can be found on the state Office of Environmental Quality Control's website at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov.
* Nanea Kalani can be reached at email@example.com.