MAUI: ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Hawaii is seeing population growth on the neighbor islands at a far faster pace than on Oahu, so this year the Star-Advertiser is examining the emergence of our neighbor islands in three special reports.
In April, we published "Growing Pains," examining challenges facing Hawaii island and the population explosion turning it into the fastest-growing county in the state.
From 1990 to 2011, the population of Hawaii and Maui counties grew by 54 percent; Kauai County by 31 percent. Oahu’s growth by comparison was a mere 15 percent, according to figures from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
This second report examines development in Central Maui, which has been at the forefront of recent commercial and residential growth on the Valley Isle.
Flying into Maui offers glimpses of rolling green cane fields, but first-time visitors and those who haven’t been there in a while might be taken aback by the reach of development sprawling out from the old towns of Wailuku and Kahului. The two communities seem to have merged as remnants of ancient dune systems, pastureland and sugar cane fields have given way to business parks and master-planned communities. In the midst of it all stands Hawaii’s last surviving raw sugar producer and the largest farm in the state (see story on Page A1). There’s also the University of Hawaii Maui College, a major player pumping millions of dollars into the local economy and developing a workforce for the island’s future.
Christie Wilson is the Today/Features editor for the Star-Advertiser and has lived on Maui for nearly 30 years.
Nanea Kalani has worked as a journalist in Hawaii since 2006. She grew up in Hana, Maui, and holds a journalism degree from Hawaii Pacific University.
Krystle Marcellus is a 2006 graduate of Temple University with a degree in photojournalism. She has worked for the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Bulletin.
Page 4: Thousands of new homes are welcome in Central Maui
Residential development in Central Maui that some might consider sprawl is viewed by many as an opportunity for young families to remain on the island or come home from the mainland.
Slow-growing master-planned communities are expanding the boundaries of the region with surprisingly little opposition.
Page 12: Paia’s funky persona thrives without big-box influence
Paia is a step back in time. Its charm has evolved over the years and while plantation-era storefronts remain intact, merchandise is now more suited to a funky clientele of windsurfers, New Agers and nature-loving transplants.
But Paia also must contend with growing pains. The question now is how to keep the chain stores at bay.
Page 18: Access to water divides community in Central Valley
A legal battle has persisted for nearly a decade over access to water from the Waikapu, Waiehu, Waihee and Wailuku streams.
At the heart of the dispute is the diversion of water for the benefit of the Central Valley versus how much should be restored in order for the four streams to once again flow to the ocean.
Page 24: Maui College works hard to attract, prepare students
Enrollment at the University of Hawaii Maui College has jumped by about 50 percent in just five years — the highest enrollment of all UH neighbor island colleges.
The college has boldly positioned itself to compete with four-year universities, catering to the local workforce and capitalizing on research and programs like culinary arts.
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George F. Lee