Henry Spencer and David Spee recently purchased a parcel of land along Baldwin Avenue near the Patsy Takemoto Mink Post Office. Along with support from Mana Foods, they plan to provide 100 free parking stalls in a gravel lot.
Developers said they will eventually build a larger, more permanent parking lot with about 230 spaces along with commercial developments and senior housing.
Spencer said he could not have gotten the project approved so quickly if not for the county’s improved permitting process.
No, they’re not paving paradise to put up a parking lot. This unused field next to the Post Office off Baldwin Avenue in Pāia will soon be blanketed with a layer of gravel, providing 100 free, much-needed parking stalls.
Photo: Debra Lordan
“As promised, the county is working with the private sector in order to get things done faster,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “This is one way we can help, especially when it comes to projects like this which have an immediate benefit for the community.”
“It will be interesting to see how busy the lot gets,” Spencer said. “People are hunting for parking up and down Baldwin Avenue and so this should help the situation.”
The new lot was announced just as the Pā‘ia Town Center parking lot opened on Monday, March 7. Property owner Jim Argyropoulos of California began renovations in the fall in order to pave the lot and install lighting and other improvements.
“This completed project is great news for Pā‘ia and will provide a substantial amount of improved parking stalls right in the core of town,” said consultant Bill Frampton, whose firm helped Argyropoulos with the project. “We know everyone is looking forward to this lot being open once again.”
In the meantime, residents, tourists and workers continue to park at the Pā‘ia Community Center and the Pā‘ia Hawaiian Protestant Church to make up for the lack of adequate parking spaces.
Church officials originally intended their property at 245 Hāna Highway to be used by Pā‘ia employees only, so that they did not take away from town parking during their work shifts. But tourists and other non-employees have been using the lot as well, and that overuse of their property has left them with a badly damaged lawn.
“The church has done a great thing for this community,” said Arakawa. “We thank them and ask that people do not abuse their generosity.”