Survey says! We want more than just parking in Wailuku

Residents weigh in online for food trucks, museum in new public space

In addition to more parking, residents want food trucks, a plaza and a children’s museum in Wailuku town, according to an online survey that concluded earlier this month.

Maui County and consulting firm Progressive Urban Management Associates held the survey April 4 to May 9 to collect input on priorities for the proposed Wailuku Town Parking and Events Facility. It is proposed to be located along Vineyard Street near the corner of Church Street. This is on a portion of the Wailuku municipal parking lot bordered by Market, Vineyard and Church streets.

The vision is to design an area that goes beyond putting up a parking structure, by incorporating public spaces and community uses to “act as anchor in the heart of Wailuku town,” according to information from the county.

Results from the survey, along with other data gathered at stakeholder meetings and initial input for the project will be shared at the Maui Redevelopment Agency’s meeting at 1 p.m. today at the Planning Department Conference Room at the Kalana Pakui building in Wailuku.

No action will be taken today.

The agency will eventually take action on a permit for the project’s design. This approval could be at the end of August or early September, said Erin Wade, part of the Maui Redevelopment Agency staff and a small-town planner with the Planning Department.

According an online project timeline, construction is not scheduled to begin until mid-2019.

Before that, an environmental assessment will be prepared, and the administration as well as the Maui County Council will review the project, Wade said. There will continue to be public meetings and workshops on the project, she added.

In the online survey, 1,196 responses were received. The top amenities people wanted were food trucks or an outdoor market; plaza, park or green space; and a children’s museum or discovery center.

The most frequently cited reasons people didn’t visit Wailuku town more often included difficulty finding parking, lack of diverse retail and traffic/congestion, according to the survey.

In 2010, another survey indicated similar results relating to a lack of parking and lack of diverse retail.

Whatever the chosen design will be for the project, the county is seeking to include:

• A parking structure, with a minimum capacity of 300 stalls.

• Real Property Tax offices, including a meeting room.

• A county one-stop bill-paying counter.

• Landscaped plaza/festival area.

• Food trucks/outdoor market.

The documents scheduled to be presented at today’s meeting include various concepts for the project, ranging from “low intensity” to “high intensity.”

The “low-intensity” option could include a community reception space for up to 300 people with commercial catering kitchen and restrooms. A “medium-intensity” option could include four to six climate-controlled, 30- to 50-person-capacity multipurpose classrooms; a county hearing/training room with 150-person capacity; county Maui Redevelopment Agency management offices; food truck/outdoor market facilities; outdoor stage; programming storage area and covered bike parking.

A “high-intensity” project could include an arts and cultural/discovery center tenant space; an Iao visitors center; a concession; county hearing and community reception space with 250-person capacity; county MRA management offices; county high-tech conference room; outdoor stage in festival/plaza area; programming storage area; food truck/outdoor market; covered bike parking; and an interactive water feature.

“The way the designs are being provided will provide the opportunity for people to express their preference for certain elements in a way that allows us to combine all of the preferred elements into a single preferred design,” Wade said, noting the components can be mixed and matched.

A Project Advisory Committee will oversee the process of the preferred design, she added.

In the current version of the county’s fiscal 2018 budget, $4.3 million in capital improvement project funding has been made available for the “Wailuku Redevelopment Municipal Parking Lot Expansion.”

The second and final vote on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday by the Maui County Council. The budget then heads to Mayor Alan Arakawa for his action.

Wade and Deputy Planning Director Michele Chouteau McLean said a portion of the funds will be used for property acquisition to purchase areas where interim parking can be accommodated.

Wade added that funds would be used for utilities upgrades, drainage, archaeological trenching and construction security measures that need to be undertaken in advance of the larger project moving forward.

For more information, see www.rewailuku.org/parking-civic-hub.

Results from the survey, other public outreach along with the various concepts for the project can be found at www.co.maui.hi.us/192/Maui-Redevelopment-Agency. Click on agendas and minutes.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.