Oahu Arts Cen­ter Still Seek­ing Land

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page - By CAROL CHANG

De­spite re­cent rev­er­sals, Oahu Arts Cen­ter will push on with its mis­sion to find land to build an arts cen­ter for the stage­less North Shore and Cen­tral Oahu com­mu­ni­ties.

“We’re not go­ing to give up,” said OAC spokes­woman Ann Freed, fol­low­ing Cas­tle & Cooke’s an­nounce­ment that it has agreed to sell the once-promised three acres in Mililani Mauka for an af­ford­able rental hous­ing project. “We’ll ex­plore all av­enues for an­other piece of land.”

C&C has sug­gested land in Cen­tral Oahu Re­gional Park as a more ap­pro­pri­ate site. “It’s cen­trally lo­cated and iso­lated from res­i­dences,” stated C&C, “and can of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for long-term plan­ning and fundrais­ing.”

“That may be too far away to ben­e­fit the North Shore,” Freed noted, “but it’s bet­ter than noth­ing.”

OAC sup­port­ers, mean­while, are col­lect­ing sig­na­tures to press the Mililani Town de­vel­oper to “honor its com­mit­ment by trans­fer­ring three acres of land in Mililani Mauka” for the long-awaited arts cen­ter. “But we will find a place,” Freed vowed, “with or with­out them.”

That agree­ment to do­nate the land — bounded by Me­heula

Park­way, Le­hiwa Drive and Kua‘oa Street — was made in 2002, but the non­profit group missed a 2008 dead­line to raise enough funds to show it could build and op­er­ate the cen­ter. The Catch 22, Freed said, is that OAC can­not at­tract big donors with­out al­ready hav­ing land.

On the arts cen­ter’s be­half, the 2010 Leg­is­la­ture passed a res­o­lu­tion ask­ing C&C to con­tinue to work with OAC to se­cure an ap­pro­pri­ate site.

Mililani Mauka-Lau­nani Neigh­bor­hood Board also voted against the rental hous­ing project July 6 af­ter hear­ing de­vel­oper Gary Fu­ruta present de­tails. He said he in­tends to buy 7 1/2 acres with state hous­ing funds to erect a 226-unit com­plex of two-and three-story af­ford­able rental apart­ments.

For more on OAC events, go its Face­book page or call Ed­mund Ac­zon at 864-5222 or Freed at 623-5676.

The Royal Hawai­ian Band filled Mililani Town Cen­ter with mu­sic dur­ing a free con­cert July 3. De­spite fund­ing con­cerns, the band main­tains a full sched­ule of free pub­lic en­ter­tain­ment each month through­out the state. Af­ter a brief vacation, they’ll re­turn to the town cen­ter at noon Aug. 7. Photo by Leah Friel, lfriel@midweek.com.

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