Basketball court donation gains OK by council

WAILUKU – A resolution to accept the donation of a new outdoor basketball court, likely to be placed in West Maui, was unanimously approved by the Maui County Council at its meeting Friday.

The resolution was initially referred to the council Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee last month, after some residents expressed concern about the court’s proposed location at the Lahaina Civic Center tennis court area.

“The tennis community would rather see this Dreamcourt (basketball court) in another more appropriate area,” Maui District Tennis Association President Chris Scharein testified. “These courts are being used by our community, just not as frequently due to the unplayable and unsafe conditions of the original courts. We all agree they need repair.”

Scharein and other tennis players stressed the need to preserve the few existing courts.

The resolution does not specify the location for the new basketball court, although the county Department of Parks and Recreation intends for it to be installed on one of the nine tennis courts at the Lahaina Civic Center complex, Economic Development Committee Chairman Don Guzman said.

The West Maui area has only two outdoor basketball courts, while there are 11 tennis courts – nine at the civic center and two at Napili Park. An additional three courts are privately owned, according to county records.

“Eleven tennis courts compared to two outdoor basketball courts is a tough comparison because all sports contribute to our community,” Guzman said.

To compensate for the loss of one tennis court, Guzman and other council members proposed appropriating funds from the West Maui parks assessment fund, which has more than $5 million, toward repairing one or more of the five civic center courts. The courts suffer from cracks, uneven surface areas and a general lack of maintenance.

Deputy Parks Director Brianne Savage told The Maui News last month that a new court would cost $275,000 and just resurfacing it would cost $15,000.

The donation of the new basketball court, valued at $20,000, is funded by the Nancy Lieberman and the World Ventures foundations.

In other council matters, members on second and final reading approved:

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to add a $920,000 appropriation from a state grant for improvements to War Memorial Stadium. The money will be used for plans, design and construction to improve and upgrade the stadium field complex and grounds.

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to increase the estimated revenue amount for carryover savings in the highway fund by $340,000. The money will be used to resurface the upper portion of Baldwin Avenue, from Haliimaile Road to Makawao Avenue.

* A bill to amend the current fiscal year budget to allow the Department of Water Supply to secure a $9 million appropriation of state revolving loan funds to develop the West Maui Mahinahina water well, instead of using its own generated revenue and county-issued general obligation bonds.

* Bills to revise the Maui County Code pertaining to the salaries of deputies in the Department of Corporation Counsel and Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, along with the salaries of employees within the legislative branch, effective retroactive to July 1. The salaries were adjusted to reflect similar salary increases for other county employees.

* A bill to prohibit parking on a portion of Wailani Street in Wailuku, between East Vineyard and Nani streets. Residents in the area had requested parking be prohibited to ensure safety for pedestrians and emergency and service vehicles.

* Eileen Chao can be reached at