Q: We went to Palauea Beach yesterday and saw survey stakes and orange fencing that had been put up around two small areas. I remember the public's fight to save Palauea years ago and read that the county was able to buy two lots. What is the county's plan for the lots it purchased and will the other lots eventually have more mega-mansions, thereby losing another beach? Thank you.
A: The county did indeed acquire two parcels at Palauea Beach. According to our Planning Department, the county does not have plans to purchase additional parcels in the area or to make any improvements there, such as restrooms or parking, but it is my understanding that the public nonetheless uses these county-owned lots to access and enjoy the beach. Some privately owned and undeveloped lots have received some of the necessary permits to build homes, so it is possible that there will be homes built in the future. There also are ongoing archaeological and environmental surveys being conducted in the area as part of the permitting process. Either of these actions could be the reason for the orange fencing.
Q: On Tuesday or Wednesday, the lifeguard station at D.T. Fleming Beach was scheduled to be demolished. This station in particular is an icon in our small westside community, as it bears a mural of a beloved longtime resident who passed away in 2007, Ron Cassidy. This may not seem an important issue in the big scheme of things but to people who frequent this location and live in our community, it is. Is there a way the mural can be saved? Thank you for your time and consideration.
A: Thank you for asking about this, as I have heard a lot of misinformation being circulated in the community. More than three years ago, several county lifeguards asked our Risk Management Division to inspect the tower for safety considerations. After the inspection, Risk Management recommended the replacement of the tower with a new tower similar to the other portable towers in use in Maui County. To keep the public and our lifeguards safe, a new, state-of-the-art tower was requisitioned and purchased, and, in fact, was specially designed by the manufacturer as a new, larger-capacity model called the "Maui Tower." The tower has been delivered to D.T. Fleming Beach and was installed Friday, with all logistics planned to allow work crews to carry out the demolition, delivery and installation of the new tower in a timely and coordinated manner. As for the beautiful mural painted by acclaimed local artist Ronaldo Macedo, it was carefully removed prior to demolition and plans are being made for the permanent installation of this meaningful tribute to a beloved member of our community. To view photos of the mural and the new tower, visit my blog on the county website: www.mauicounty.gov/mayor; click on "Mayor's Update."
Q: Do you know which stretches of Kamehameha, Hina, Papa and Wakea avenues will be improved with federal aid funds for reconstruction?
A: Yes, the first federal aid-funded pavement rehabilitation project was on Lono Avenue and ran between Kamehameha Avenue and Laau Street; it was completed in September 2012. Motorists may have noticed work recently on the second project on Wakea Avenue between Puunene and Kaahumanu avenues. The project is expected to be completed in December. Also currently under construction is the Kamehameha and Hina project; targeted completion is January. Papa Avenue will be reconstructed next year, as well as Wakea Avenue (continuation) and Wells Street. Additionally, Lono Avenue Phase 2 is currently being designed, with an expected construction start date of January 2015. All of these projects incorporate full-depth reconstruction (about 14 inches deep), which typically adds 15 to 20 years of extended life span to the roads compared to standard overlays. To view a map of the pavement rehabilitation projects being conducted on some of Maui's most heavily used roads, visit www.mauicounty.gov/mayor and click on "Mayor's Update."
*Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column.