PACIFIC GATEWAY CENTER HOPES TO OPEN COMMUNITY CENTER BY NEXT SUMMER.
BY ROBBIE DINGEMAN | PHOTOS: DAVID CROXFORD
After decades spent closed and dusty, the historic stone Kakaako pumping station on Ala Moana Boulevard began preparations this week for a new role as a community center run by the the Pacific Gateway Center.
State lawmakers and Gov. Neil Abercrombie allocated $1 million for the renovation of the long-closed sewage pumping station on Ala Moana Boulevard across from the former CompUSA store. Built in 1900, the striking stone building has remained empty for years eluding various plans to develop it into a restaurant, museum or a host of other concepts.
State Senate president Donna Mercado Kim praised supporters of the project for finding a purpose for the structure. “We are giving it a second life. This center will be a place of learning, bringing senior citizens and youth together,” Kim said.
An environmental assessment began last month and must be completed before renovations can take place, according to Lindsey Doi, public information officer for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which is the state landowner of the property.
The community center will be leased by and run by the Pacific Gateway Center, Doi said. “It fits in with the overall vision of Kakaako.” Pacific Gateway Center executive director Myaing Thein envisions a community center that hosts nearby members of the senior citizen community at Na Kupuna Makamae, as well as music and dance programs that welcome young and old.
The center also expects to offer low-cost legal assistance through a partnership with the University of Hawaii’s law school, Thein said. She estimates that the environmental report will take nine months and hopes that construction can begin as early as May 2015.
She said the renovations include fixing the roof, updating the antiquated electrical systems and plumbing and she hopes that could be complete in time to open a year from now, in September 2015.