DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The "Club 21" teen dance program is one of the success stories at the Kalihi YMCA. Posing last Friday were, in front from left, Ashley Pascua, Dova Rabusa, Shayna Fernandez, Ashley Quemado, Krista Hasegawa, Rhemielyn Mentac and Renee Aquino and, in the back row, Alma Agpaoa, Jordan Bongolan, Rhemie Mentac and Stephanie Barayuga.
Kalihi YMCAThe Kalihi YMCA is trying to raise millions of dollars for an ambitious renovation project aimed at helping children and at-risk teens in its neighborhood.
A new 4-story building
would give more room
for children's programs
By Genevieve A. Suzuki
The Kalihi project is just part of a $30 million effort by the YMCA of Honolulu to build new facilities in Waianae and Waipahu and renovate buildings in Central and Leeward Oahu, said Kalihi YMCA Co-executive Director Tony Pfaltzgraff.
But Kalihi is first on the list, Pfaltzgraff said.
The Kalihi Y's portion of the project will cost $4.5 million, according to Pfaltzgraff. Gov. Ben Cayetano released $1 million in capital improvement funds for the building's renovation because the YMCA runs state-funded programs.
The proposed new four-story Kalihi YMCA building will give the organization more room so that it can run children's and teen programs simultaneously during the summer.
"Rather than saying to the teens, 'You have to go elsewhere,' this new building would accommodate both teens and elementary school-aged children," said Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Maryrose McClelland.
Kalihi YMCA teen summer programs usually take place off-site throughout the community, Pfaltzgraff said.
The Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board supports the plans for the new structure, said Chairwoman Bernadette S.M. Young.
"It's helping the teens," Young said. "It's getting the teens off the street."
The Kalihi YMCA helped 2,700 teens on Oahu last year, Pfaltzgraff said. Several of its programs are aimed at helping at-risk teens with substance abuse treatment and gang prevention programs.
The Kalihi renovation project is targeted for completion by the latter part of next year, Pfaltzgraff said.
But the city first has to approve the YMCA's request for a variance regarding the required number of parking stalls.
The city requires about 80 parking stalls for a structure the size of the proposed new building, but the current design only has 52 stalls.
Pfaltzgraff said the Kalihi YMCA does not need 80 parking stalls because most of its programs target children and teens.
"They don't use cars to get to our facility," Pfaltzgraff said. "We really think 50 is a realistic number."
McClelland said the proposed Kalihi YMCA design will not pose a parking problem for the community. She said she went to check out the area a couple of times and noticed several empty stalls.
"The stalls they have now are more than ample," McClelland said.
The city Planning & Permitting Department is researching the Kalihi YMCA's request to provide less parking than required under the zoning code, said city spokeswoman Carol Costa.
A public hearing will follow the research, Costa said.
YMCA Hawaii Region
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