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Editorial | Off the News

There’s still time left to go visit Uncle Billy’s

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OK, so it wasn’t the multi-starred lodging that many of today’s traveling sophisticates seek. Still, the shutdown of iconic Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel is plenty sad — and no doubt Merrie Monarch Festival-goers will lament the loss of affordable rooms come the April fest.

The humble hotel, like virtually every other bayfront lodging along Banyan Drive, gave guests scenic views of Hilo Bay and access to the area’s charm. But after 50-plus years of operation, Uncle Billy’s will close at month’s end; the companion general store next door will operate into next month. The leased land will revert to the state Land Department, which has set a public meeting Jan. 15 to discuss the area’s future.

It’ll be intriguing to hear ideas for investment to revitalize the area. Change is inevitable, but it’s also bittersweet. Aloha, Uncle Billy’s.

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