Keiki and community need Makiki library funding
The Makiki Community Library must feel very left out. Anyone who has driven by the Makiki District Park can't help but notice what an eyesore the library has become, especially given that the buildings around the library have already been improved or are in the process of being renovated. The changes at the park have had a profound effect on the community. We have a place to go. Yet the Makiki library still sits waiting despite the Legislature's $4.5 million appropriation.
I live in Makiki, and I watch my 10-month-old son half days. I look for things to do with him in our neighborhood. The library would be a great spot. In fact, it would be a nice way to start him off in life. That's why it's hard to understand why Governor Lingle has dealt such a blow to our community by refusing to release any of the renovation funds.
Everyone who lives in Makiki knows that the district park is about the only space where families can gather. And the library should be an important component of this gathering place. It has the potential to help our keiki learn that reading is fun and to provide our many elderly residents with a community reading room.
When you live in one of the most densely populated areas in Honolulu, you learn to do without because the elected officials sometimes forget about you. But in 2004, Rep. Brian Schatz and the Legislature recognized the community's need and dedicated resources to improve and renovate the library.
The building has been plagued by frequent vandalism, but would be provided with a new security system as part of the renovation. It also has outdated computer systems, which would be updated with Internet access. And perhaps most important are renovations that would finally make the library handicap accessible.
I understand that the state has a surplus of funds, and yet the governor has cited the close proximity of the McCully library as a reason for not investing in the Makiki library. So, should the Makiki kids after school have to travel more than a mile in heavy traffic to do their homework? Use the Internet? These keiki are Hawaii's future, and they deserve a fair chance.
If the community and Rep. Schatz managed to convince 75 other legislators that the library is worth funding, the least the governor could do is release the money.
L Keanu Young III lives in Makiki.