Public park on private land near bypass viable option

Considering the proximity to schools, homes and businesses, Hurricane Lane’s wildfire helped identify the area at-risk for the community’s safety. Thanks to extra emergency personnel and heroic efforts, the community avoided a much greater catastrophe.

Adjacent to Lahainaluna Road, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate controls approximately 1,000 acres above the bypass and 200 acres below it. Covered with weeds and brush, the majority of the agriculture land is fallow.

Recently, the West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee allocated the majority of this area to be developed into a huge community park. Of course, the community plan is far from final as the Maui Planning Commission and County Council will have to approve it. Besides that, Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate would have to be willing to comply.

Perhaps Maui’s Hazard Mitigation Plan could include a master plan for Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s property. A public-use park on private land is a viable option to mitigate hazards.

A private park would allow for commercial activities to help fund the expenses related to operational and maintenance costs. Reforestation would help recharge the groundwater, prevent erosion and provide a supply of native trees and plants as a nursery. Mature trees could be harvested for lumber. Agriculture parks/community gardens along with farmer’s markets and a food hub/co-op would be viable commercial enterprises.

In addition to environmental protection and food security, developing recreational areas in the park would be an asset to the community overall. Please consider how you can help develop this area into a community park.

Michele Lincoln