(BIVN) – Hawaii County Planning Director Michael Yee drew upon the work being done to plot a course for the future of the Waiakea Peninsula during a recent budget review in order to inspire the Hawaii County Council’s Finance Committee in Hilo.
“I still like to dream big,” Yee told the council, as an image of a conceptual map for the future of Banyan Drive was projected on a screen.
“This is a map of the conceptual master plan for Banyan Drive. But what’s great about this is this vision came with other pieces that were ahead of it. The Downtown Hilo Plan, the multimodal plan, Complete Streets, Bayfront Trails, economic development initiatives, the Harbor plan,” Yee said. “This encompassed them, and was a comprehensive look at how we can improve it. That’s what planning does.”
“I hope we don’t stop trying to do that,” Yee added, “because we get mired in the day-to-day of scarcity as we cut down every department and we lose sight of what we have to do for the future.”
Yee made note of two Banyan Drive-related bills still alive at the state legislature.
SB2972 SD2 HD1, described as:
Requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to allocate 10 percent of revenues collected from commercial properties within the Banyan Drive redevelopment area to the Banyan Drive Hawaii Redevelopment Agency. Appropriates funds to the Agency for conducting environmental impact studies that are necessary to complete the Agency’s redevelopment plan for the Banyan Drive redevelopment area. Requires matching funds from the County of Hawaii. (SB2972 HD1)
Another, SB3058 SD2 HD2:
Establishes ten-year redevelopment district and designated district pilot projects within the Kanoelehua Industrial Area and Banyan Drive region until 6/30/2028. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Appropriates funds. (SB3058 HD2)
Both bills passed the State House and the Senate, but the chambers did not agree on the different amendments that were made. The bills are now in conference committee, and conferees have been named.
Yee told the council that right now, the county does not have the $250,000 in the budget to match the state funds that would be appropriated in SB 2972, but the planning director hopes it can be found.
“We gotta figure out,” said Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, “$250,000 to match what the state is putting on the table, I think it will go a long way.”