CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
General contractor Gerard Sakamoto got involved with the Moiliili Community Center after building a facility for the nonprofit. He is the center's new board president.
What is the Moiliili Community Center's mission?
>> Day job: General contractor for S&M Sakamoto
>> New post: Moiliili Community Center president
>> Other executive board members: First Vice President Koki Akamine; Second Vice President Walter Ozawa, deputy administrative director of the court; Treasurer Adrian Kwock, state Attorney General's office criminal justice planning specialist; and Secretary Donna Hashimoto, Kaimana Realty principal broker.
It provides community services for youngsters as well as adults and seniors. For youngsters there's a Japanese school that just celebrated its 100th anniversary, as well as A-plus and summer school programs. I think they really provide a good service to the community and have been doing so for many years. They have a lot of very active volunteers. The center is trying to put together a historical account of Moiliili. They are trying to gather information from the seniors before it's lost.
What are your goals as president?
I guess the problem that all nonprofits have been facing is getting money to continue to provide services. We're no different. Every year it's a struggle to balance the budget. And now government funding is in jeopardy because of state and city budget cuts. So I'll be focusing primarily on funding.
What are the biggest challenges facing Moiliili?
Overall the population is aging. There are lot more seniors. The center serves as kind of a gathering place. It offers programs and classes for seniors. As that population grows, that becomes more and more important for the community. Seniors also come in from other areas just to go to the center.
What do you think of University of Hawaii President Evan Dobelle's college town idea?
That's something the center is interested in participating in. The health of the community is important. The health of the businesses in the community is important. I guess long-range that's something we can look forward to.
Is there a lot of redevelopment potential in Moiliili?
There are a lot of older properties that need to be renovated. I guess it depends on what the university has in mind. There could be more living spaces for students or more places for them to go.
The area is so central, why hasn't there been more redevelopment of older, smaller properties?
A lot of the properties are owned by long-time families or businesses that have been ongoing for a number of years. And a lot of them are smaller parcels. I don't know what these landowners' future plans are. I guess to develop anything you'd have to consolidate smaller parcels. To do that, the market has to be there.
Could the area handle more residential or commercial density?
I think so. Many of the existing properties are low-rise buildings on smaller parcels. I think there's a lot of potential.
Inside Hawaii Inc. is a conversation with a member of the Hawaii business community who has changed jobs, been elected to a board or been recognized for accomplishments. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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