Maui Council approves
funding of land purchase

Nearly $1 million will go toward
procuring historic Muolea Point

WAILUKU » Maui County Council members have given initial approval to spending nearly $1 million toward the purchase of 73 acres that includes a historic Hawaiian temple and the site of a summer residence of King David Kalakaua in the Hana District.

Council members unanimously passed the funding bill for the Muolea Point site on first reading Friday. The second and final reading is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 21 in the Maui Council Chambers.

The land, makai of Hana Road between Kipahulu and Hana Town, is one of the few areas along miles of East Maui coastline that provides access to the sea.

Budget Chairman Riki Hokama, who previously had questions about the county acquisition, said he felt the purchase would add "another jewel" in efforts to preserve the culture of the Valley Isle.

Under the purchase plan, the nonprofit group Trust for Public Land has secured a six-month emergency loan for the purchase of the property, valued at $4.05 million in 2001, and will sell it for a little more than $3 million to the county.

Council members are using the county's open-space fund to obtain $1 million and some grant money from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to receive $2 million toward the land purchase.

The trust plans to raise funds, and landowner Hanahuli Associates Inc. will be making an undisclosed donation to make up the difference between the $4.05 million in land value and the purchase price of $3 million, trust officials said.

Two native Hawaiian groups, the Kipahulu Ohana and the Ho'onipaa No Hana Foundation, are expected to hold public meetings and develop a management plan for Muolea.

Tily Shue, the associate regional director for the trust, said she was happy with the Council's decision. Shue said acquiring the land will help to preserve the natural beauty and a sacred place important to Hawaiian culture.

Donations for the land purchase may be made to Trust for Public Land in Honolulu by calling 524-8560.



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