Star-Advertiser: ‘Nanakuli Library Project Advances’

By Nanea Kalani
Star-Advertiser 11/25/13

Legislators provided $15.5 million in funds for a facility under discussion since the ’70s

Construction of a long-planned public library for the Nana­kuli community is expected to start early next year after decades of planning.

The City Council’s Zoning Committee on Thursday approved a special management area permit for the project, a requirement for developing on coastal lands. The full Council is expected to take a final vote on the permit at its next meeting Dec. 11.

Once approved, the project can go out for construction bids, said Keith Fujio, special assistant to the state librarian.

“We’re moving on it as fast as we can,” Fujio said. He said lawmakers earlier this year provided $15.5 million in capital improvement funds for the construction.

Talk of a public library for Nana­kuli first came up in the 1970s. The nearest public library is about six miles away in Wai­anae.

“This is something that the community has waited a long time for and has been frustrated at times by the length of time that it’s taken,” said state Sen. Maile Shi­ma­bu­kuro (D, Nana­kuli-Makua). “It’s a long-overdue need.”

Councilman Breene Hari­moto said he recalls that a Nana­kuli library was a priority for the Board of Education when he was a member about a decade ago.

“This library is so, so, so much needed,” Hari­moto said, noting that the growth of Oahu’s second city pushed construction of the Kapo­lei Regional Library ahead of the Nana­kuli facility on the priority list. That library opened in 2004. 

But Fujio said, “Nana­kuli was always at the top of the list as an underserved area in our master plan. We’ve never taken them off, but the politics of the state dictate where we put in libraries.”

Cynthia Rezentes, chairwoman of the Nana­kuli-Maili Neighborhood Board, said the economic downturn also hampered the project.

“With the economy going up and down and sideways over the years, we’ve been a victim to some of that,” Rezentes said. “But now that things are more stable and we have support from the state librarian and legislators, it’s finally coming to fruition.”

She said the Nana­kuli library has been designed with community input to be a resource for children and the broader community, with Internet access, a sound room for recording, public meeting spaces and an outdoor venue to host movie nights or concerts.

“This is going to be a place that the kids can go after school to hopefully do their homework, do research,” Rezentes said. “And the design allows for gatherings, which is really beneficial. I think it’s just going to provide a different level of service that hasn’t been available within the Nana­kuli community ever, really.”

THE LIBRARY will be built along Farrington Highway on part of a 15-acre, state-owned property that was formerly an Army recreation facility. Nana­ika­pono Elementary School was built on the mauka portion of the site in 2004, when the school relocated from a leased site just across the highway.

Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, who represents the Wai­anae Coast, said while she supports the project, some in the community raised concerns that the state Department of Transportation recommended those leaving the parking lot of the new facility not be allowed to turn left onto Farrington Highway because they worry it will bring more cars into the Nana­kuli residential neighborhood.

City Planning Director George Atta said his agency will talk to state transportation officials about the issue.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next year and take about a year to complete, according to a draft environmental assessment submitted in January.

[Click here to read the full article at the Star-Advertiser.]

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One Response

  1. Did you notice that for a regional library for the Waianae Coast there is no left turn into the library?

    Like

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