HILO, Hawaii – Banyan Drive Hawaii Redevelopment Agency board member Brian DeLima hopes to see a home for Hilo’s popular Merrie Monarch Festival in the future Banyan Drive.
“I thought that one of the visions was that the community convention or conference place,” DeLima said, “could serve as an amphitheater or conference where you could actually have the Merrie Monarch, rather than up at the tennis stadium.”
Looking over conceptual maps, DeLima bristled somewhat at a possible new layout that designated a resort area on a spot previously allocated as open space. DeLima’s vision for the amphitheater would look out towards the ocean “where that hotel is being proposed.”
“But perhaps there are no view planes, no possibility for that to occur,” DeLima pondered.
“My other thought,” DeLima expanded, “was that it becomes the center for the Merrie Monarch Festival where the halau could actually have space to practice or perform… There could be a living, cultural demonstration… It would bring vibrancy to the area that, in itself, would be an attraction.”
DeLima said the venue for performing arts could be complimented by mixed-use elements like “restaurants and bars and other type of amenities that would go along with that type of experience.”
Some public comments agree that the redevelopment of Banyan Drive should keep the Merrie Monarch Festival in mind.
Sig Zane, whose family is closely involved in the hula festival, also sits on the board of the Banyan Drive HRA.
“I really like the way this is being fleshed out so I appreciate all the hard work and the public comments,” DeLima said.