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Youth club seeks to develop permanent space in Paukukalo

Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui’s proposed project open to public comment

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui is proposing to repurpose an existing open-air playcourt and build a two-story building to establish the Paukukalo Clubhouse. Maui County Department of Planning image

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui is looking to develop a permanent location in Paukukalo to provide nurturing activities and services for youth and their families.

The current facility used for the Paukukalo Clubhouse, one of the busiest clubs, is shared with other organizations in the area, making it a challenge for the club’s services to operate at full capacity.

“Having a facility designated and dedicated to BGCM youth services will allow the organization to be open and available to children and their families for longer hours, and provide the framework to share our nationally accredited programming based on age, interest and need,” said CEO Kelly Maluo-Pearson last week.

The organization recently submitted a draft environmental assessment for the proposed two-story building, which was published earlier this month in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s “The Environmental Notice.”

Founded in 2000, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui has a mission to “inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens,” Maluo-Pearson said.

Shown is a preliminary sketch of the east side of the proposed 5,490-square-foot Paukukalo Clubhouse, which would be constructed using the existing open-air playcourt at Paukukalo park in Wailuku. Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui image

If approved, the project would involve repurposing an existing covered open-air playcourt structure at the neighboring Paukukalo Park in Kahului into a 5,490-square-foot, two-story building.

The estimated $6 million project will also include related site improvements, such as infrastructure connections, landscaping and parking, which will be constructed in phases according to the number of stalls required for each of the project’s phases.

In addition, the proposed project involves the consolidation of two parcels, owned by the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, into a single lot.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui currently holds a land use license granted by the Hawaiian Homes Commission to operate its Paukukalo Clubhouse at DHHL’s Paukukalo Community Center on 657 Kaumualii Street.

Since the Paukukalo Clubhouse opened in 2006, the club has utilized the single-room center as a temporary space, said Maluo-Pearson.

However, the environmental assessment describes the current facilities as “not considered adequate” for the club’s programs and operations.

“The community center is a shared space, used by other organizations as well, which sometimes limits opportunities for each of us to expand or be fully responsive to the people we serve,” Maluo-Pearson added.

This means the club is also limited by the number of hours it can be open and staff must set up and break down their furniture and equipment used for their operations daily, which is “labor intensive.”

The organization operates clubhouses in Central Maui, Haiku, Kahekili Terrace, Lahaina, Makawao and Paukukalo.

The Paukukalo Clubhouse is the second largest on Maui in terms of membership and, before COVID-19, provided an after-school space for about 400 keiki between the ages of 9 and 17.

However, due to the need for services in this area, the kids as young as 6 years old are welcomed “so they have a safe place after school,” she said.

This clubhouse also serves a large number of Native Hawaiian children, partly due to its location within the Paukukalo Hawaiian Homes community, which also offers a bus stop for those attending Hawaiian language immersion schools at Paia Elementary, Kalama Intermediate and King Kekaulike High School.

Within the same complex as the proposed project site is DHHL’s Maui District Office and Kamehameha Schools Paukukalo Preschool.

“The Paukukalo Club has always been one of the organization’s busiest programs,” said Maluo-Pearson. “It was born from identifying the need to serve more youth and provide a wider variety of programming for all members, allowing us to meet our mission of helping those who need us most.”

The draft assessment is for the build-out of the whole project, but Maluo-Pearson told The Maui News that the organization is planning to complete the project into two phases.

Between grants and fundraising, she hopes “we will be able to raise the funds to support our entire project.”

Phase one includes construction of the first floor of the structure, which would have staff offices, meeting rooms, game and lounge areas, a cooking classroom with a kitchen, a fitness room, storage areas, restrooms and covered lanai.

For phase two, the second floor would eventually be constructed to be used as an attic and retained for future expansion ideas.

The second floor, when developed, will include additional game and lounge areas, classroom spaces and restrooms.

“Although the project may accommodate a slight increase in the current membership of the Paukukalo Clubhouse, the proposed action aims to mainly service the existing membership,” according to the draft assessment. “The proposed project will provide adequate space for the operations and programs of the Paukukalo Clubhouse.”

Construction of the proposed project is estimated to start midway through 2024, following completion of the environmental assessment process and receipt of all required approvals and permits.

The project is anticipated to take 12 months to build.

The public comment period ends Dec. 8, and comments must be sent to the approving agency, which is the Hawaiian Homes Commission, via email at DHHL.contactcenter@hawaii.gov.

A copy must be sent to the applicant at kellyp@bgcmaui.org and the consultant at planning@munekiyohiraga.com.

“We believe the community will be supportive of the project,” Maluo-Pearson said. “We are fortunate to have both the County of Maui and the State of Hawaii providing funding to help move the project forward. We are grateful that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the Paukukalo Community Association have been supportive partners.”

To review the full draft EA, visit http://oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/2021-11-08-TEN.pdf.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui, visit bgcmaui.org.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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