Part 1 in a 5 part series
by David Corrigan & Peter Serafin
HONOMU, Hawaii: Echoes of Honomu’s history still fill the night sky every June here at the Honomu Henjoji Mission, when the annual O-Bon dance recalls the cultural heyday of a sugar industry town populated by Japanese laborers.
But just down the same street from this Buddhist Temple, is today’s story of Honomu: a struggling main street – teetering on the edge of success and failure.
Here, attractive, refurbished galleries and cafes stand side by side with dilapidated, rundown buildings…
But hope springs eternal. Just a few miles up the road flows the spectacular Akaka Falls, one of the most visited state parks on the island… and all the tourists must drive right through this sleepy little town on the way.
Its an opportunity to revitalize, according to members of the Hamakua Community Development Plan steering committee. Charged with creating a document that will guide the region’s growth to align with the community’s vision for the future, the committee has outlined a number of strategy areas to focus their efforts.
One of these strategy areas: Town Revitalization and Growth Management.
The strategy area names three objectives:
1. Redefine and redevelop Old Mamalahoa as the Heritage Corridor
2. Create toolbox for community-initiated town planning
3. Establish overall land use sector map for growth management
The committee focused on Honomu as an example.
In June of this year, a Walking Tour of Honomu was held for the steering committee members… the video has been posted to the Hamakua CDP account on Vimeo.com…
Planners hope the lessons learned in the workshop will assist in developing a Town Revitalization Toolkit for other Hamakua Coast communities.
But there is more than one influence on Honomu’s prosperity… In our next report, we look at the biggest one… located right up the road.