HILO >> A Big Island community’s historic theater has fallen into severe disrepair.
The Naalehu Theater, which was built in 1925, hasn’t been used since 2006, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
“There’s a big hole in the roof, and it’s getting bigger,” said Naalehu resident Glen Winterbottom, who has been attempting to spur action to preserve the historic building. “The metal siding is rusting away slowly.”
Winterbottom has drafted a letter to lawmakers and Gov. David Ige, asking them to take action. “While well-maintained historic structures and attractions in the various small towns along the circle-island highway system would obviously tend to foster admiration by visitors and pride in community members, highly conspicuous disrepair can’t help but engender negative and counterproductive reactions,” Winterbottom wrote.
The theater is owned by an Oahu division of the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, a nonprofit that owns several properties in Hawaii. The Weinberg Foundation did not return a message from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
While state lawmakers share Winterbottom’s concerns, many are questioning what actions are even possible.
Because the property is privately owned, little can be done to compel the owners to maintain their building, said Democratic state Rep. Richard Creagan (D, Naalehu-Captain Cook-Keauhou).