The end of County of Maui grants of nearly a quarter million dollars each year to the Wailuku Main Street Association’s (WMSA) has brought about a new era of “small town planning” grants. A total of $243,000 (the exact amount of money WMSA received last year) will now provide direct benefits to one of Maui County’s small towns, including Haiku, Hana, Kaunakakai, Keokea-Waiakoa, Lahaina, Lanai City, Makawao, Paia, Waihee, Waikapu and Wailuku. The county Planning Department recently announced four winners:
• Makawao Town Improvements – an estimated $22,000 will pay for benches, trash and recycling receptacles, gateway landscaping and gateway signs. Co-applicants: Makawao Community Association and the Makawao Merchants’ Association.
• Lahaina Second Fridays – about $5,000 will pay for block closures for several upcoming Second Friday parties. Applicant: Lahaina Town Action Committee.
• Experience Historic Lahaina – an estimated $18,000 will fund this weekend event to commemorate the completion of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Museum and Orientation Center at the Old Lahaina Courthouse and the IMAGINE waterfront project. Applicant: Lahaina Restoration Foundation.
• Kou Land Use Plan and Design – an estimated $22,000 will go for two planning and design workshops for the Waiehu-Waihee community that will lead to a land use plan and rendering for active recreational uses like trails, bike paths, a community garden and community pavilion. Applicant: Waiehu Kou Phase 3 Association.
“Maui County is dedicated to preserving our island’s heritage, one small town at a time,” said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa. “These are good projects for our communities and I am sure there will be more to come in the future.”
The towns of Haiku, Hana, Kaunakakai, Keokea-Waiakoa, Lanai City, Paia, Waikapu and Wailuku are eligible for second-round awards, because they did not receive awards in the first round. The deadline for second-round applications is Thursday, Mar. 14. If any funding remains after the second-round awards, a third round will be open to any eligible town.
Proposed projects must meet a few criteria: they must directly benefit the town, include collaboration and community engagement, display accountability of the applicant, include a proposed budget, set out a manageable term and scope and include some sort of outreach.
Given the continuing controversy over what WMSA did with all their previous county grant money (a state Attorney General’s office investigation is ongoing), these are grand ideas, indeed. The request for proposals and application form are available at Mauicounty.gov/planning. For more information, call 808-270-7735.