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Long-awaited Lahaina Public Library landscaping project to begin next week

By Staff | May 16, 2019

Lahaina Public Library’s mauka lawn will be re-landscaped with Native Hawaiian plants with a focus on kalo.

LAHAINA – The long-awaited re-landscape project on the mauka lawn of Lahaina Public Library is slated to get underway the week of May 20.

Apuakehau, the place name for this area, was formerly the site of the King’s Taro Patch.

With input from community planning with the Maui Friends of the Library and the IMAGINE project, this area will be re-landscaped with Native Hawaiian plants with a focus on kalo (taro).

Additionally, benches, a bike rack, interpretive signs and wider walkways will be installed.

Three dryland kalo beds will be created. At the conclusion of the project, students from the local schools will plant the kalo, and later, community members will harvest it, prepare it onsite and host a community pa’ina.

An important feature of Apuakehau will be a new Hawaiian dry stacked rock wall along the north side of the property.

There are remnants of an old loi wall in this location, and the original intent of the community was to re-stabilize the existing structure.

However, the remnants of the old wall are outside the project boundaries, so a new wall will be built.

Ke’eaumoku Kapu is the cultural consultant for the wall and will oversee its construction.

This project is funded by the County of Maui through a grant to Lahaina Restoration Foundation from the Parks Department.

All grant funds are spent directly on project expenses. Lahaina Restoration Foundation does not receive a fee or any reimbursement for administrative expenses or staff time.

Betsill Brothers Inc. was selected as the contractor through an open bidding process, and R.Y. Gushi Inc.is the landscape architect.

The first phase of the project will involve removal of non-native trees and plants.

The library will be open during the re-landscape project, but the Front Street entrance will be closed.

Total construction time will be approximately 120 days.

Apuakehau will become a beautiful cultural park and gathering place in the heart of the Lahaina Historic Districts.

The community envisions cultural demonstrations and hands-on activities, lectures and educational presentations, as well as shaded seating areas.

For further information, contact Theo Morrison, Lahaina Restoration Foundation executive director, at 661-3262.