Hilo, Hawaii – Citing financial challenges, the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association says Executive Director Alice Moon has stepped down, while the DIA transitions to an all volunteer-run organization.
Alice Moon (seen in the above photo on the left side) let everyone know the news in an email she shared about a week ago.
After April 15, 2014 I will no longer be serving the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association as the executive director. The good news is that I will remain involved with the Downtown Hilo Renaissance as the association’s AmeriCorps Hilo Improvement Program program manager focusing on implementing the community-based living action plan in EnVision Downtown Hilo 2025. I am looking forward to being more involved on the streets and sidewalks in direct community service with you and all the downtown Hilo stakeholders. Alice Moon
On Tuesday, the DIA confirmed with an email blast of their own. The decision, they say, is a direct result of the a change at the Mo’oheau bus terminal.
For several years DIA operated the Hilo Information Center at the Mo’oheau bus terminal, selling transportation tickets and dispensing information to the nearly 30,000 people who passed through annually. Operating the transportation terminal provided a significant source of income and a location for DIA’s homebase. At the end of 2013 the contract to manage the bus terminal came up for renewal from the county, and DIA was not the lowest bidder. The contract went elsewhere and DIA moved out of the terminal.
Without county revenue, DIA can’t at this time afford an Executive Director. Effective April 15, 2014 Alice Moon changed hats and left her Executive Director position. Alice will remain active with the DIA and downtown Hilo by assuming the roll of Program Director for DIA’s AmeriCorps program, which is grant funded. Hilo Downtown Improvement Association
The DIA remains optimistic, however:
These changes have given us an opportunity to reevaluate our projects and procedures, and to strengthen our focus. With membership up 30% in 3 months and a dedicated volunteer team, we’re confident that the DIA is stronger than ever and we’re excited about the future! The DIA’s 12-person Board of Directors has stepped into more active roles so we can continue to perform DIA duties, administer great programs, and sponsor events in downtown Hilo. We’ve formed 6 committees, each chaired by a member of the board, to address different areas of interest in our downtown. These committees are all open to the public and we invite community input and involvement. Hilo Downtown Improvement Association
The DIA also pointed to a busy start to 2014 as a positive sign.
In January we kicked off the New Year with Main Street Matters and gave a fresh coat of paint to our Bayfront stores courtesy of Benjamin Moore. We swept right into the 12th annual Chinese New Year celebration with lion dancers bestowing blessings on our freshly painted downtown. Next came DIA’s annual membership meeting, with the unveiling of our new “Experience Aloha” Hilo-style branding project and guest speakers Mayor Billy Kenoi and Councilman J Yoshimoto. Mayor Kenoi got a standing ovation for his words “let’s light up this town”!
Big Island Video News was there to film the annual membership meeting.
As for Alice Moon, who has served as DIA executive director since 2009 (but has been involved in Downtown Hilo much longer), she writes:
I’ve been fortunate to work with many great people to help create a new energy and vibrancy in our historic town, mahalo to all for their support and hands on involvement.
As the DIA board moves towards functioning as an all volunteer-run organization, I encourage everyone to stay or get involved and even get more involved in the good works of this dynamic 51 years young group.Alice Moon
Now, Moon settles into her new role as the AmeriCorps Hilo Improvement Program program manager. We were sent this info on the program a short while ago.
The Hilo Improvement Program, the first AmeriCorps Program of its kind in Hilo is a community (social) capacity building program administered through the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association. HIP aims to assist the Hilo community in meeting its own needs, both on a day-to-day basis, as well as in times of emergency through volunteer planned and implemented gatherings, workshops, events, beautification projects, and economic development activities. For more information on HIP contact Alice Moon, Program Manager at 935-8850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hilo Improvement Program