WAILUKU - With Maui Memorial Park at capacity, the Wailuku cemetery has begun construction on its second mausoleum.
"It's going to be beautiful," General Manager Pat Puana said. "We've been clearing trees and really big stones, so now it's just going to become a beautiful urban environment."
The 4-acre site called "Maui View" includes about 880 marble-and-glass niches, 300 lawn crypts and 119 standard grave sites. Memorial Construction is heading the approximate $3.5 million project with the help of C. Hayes Excavation and Haun & Associates.
Shaun Fackler, an archaeologist with Haun & Associates, observes construction work for Maui Memorial ark’s new mausoleum Friday afternoon along Waiinu Road. Due to the sand dune environment, Fackler was hired to overlook digging operations “in case crews uncover any cultural resources or human remains,” he said.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
Crews hope to complete the mausoleum by May.
"Everything has been approved by the county, so we're just concentrating on construction," Puana said.
Located across Waiinu Road from Maui Memorial Park, crews spent months clearing the area of weeds, rocks and trash that had accumulated over the years. Crews proceeded to design the structure, ensuring it would be sturdy enough to withstand the area's sharp, sloping sand dunes cascading down toward the Waiale Reservoir.
Project superintendent Richard Marble said that due to the sand dunes, the site will be built 20 feet below the road, with the mausoleum facing out toward the reservoir. The entrance will be off of Waiinu Road and parking will be located behind the neighboring electrical towers.
"You won't even be able to see it from the road," he said of the mausoleum.
The isolated site will allow for a more "stunning" and "quieter" location, which will include a rooftop garden, a cremation garden, a basalt fountain and a host of other plants and decorations, Puana said. She said that they also plan on clearing some of the trees blocking the reservoirs and placing telescopes along the walkways so visitors can view Haleakala.
"I'm from Maui and I didn't even know about that reservoir," she said. "We're going to clear some of the trees and it'll look great."
One of the key reasons for the new site is due to the available space at the current 17-acre Maui Memorial Park. Puana said that the park is "completely sold out," including the spaces inside the first mausoleum, and has been looking to expand for the past six years.
"We've actually had to buy spaces back from families because, in the old days, people would buy like 16 plots for their entire family," she said. "Some of those family members have either chosen to be cremated or have moved elsewhere so we've been able to purchase some of those back."
With the new site only a quarter of the size of the current park, Marble sought to maximize the number of families the park can serve by incorporating more than 800 niches.
"We were looking for better land utilization for this burial site because spacing is always a concern," he said.
While construction continues for their new project, officials are still looking to rebuild about 153 feet of wall at Maui Memorial Park.
In January, a portion of the rock-and-concrete wall collapsed onto the street, and the remaining wall is currently being held in place by wooden beams.
The wall was believed to have been built shortly before the cemetery opened in 1964 and did not have adequate footing and stability.
"The county is requiring a much wider footing - about about 20 feet," Puana said of the original plan to have a 14- to 18-foot base extending from the wall and tapering back toward the cemetery. "All the families that might have to be disinterred during construction have signed off, so once we get the permitting settled we can begin construction."
The park hopes to begin construction on the wall in the next three weeks and finish by the end of the year.
For pricing and reservations at Maui View at Maui Memorial Park, call 419-7214 or email info@MauiViewNow.com.
* Chris Sugidono can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.