Waipahu's plantation town feel could change as city eyes improvements

Updated: Mar. 21, 2017 at 10:25 PM HST
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What was once one of the largest sugar plantation towns on Oahu is again at the forefront of change.

The city is working with the community to shape development around Waipahu's two future rail stations.

Waipahu residents were given the opportunity to speak with city leaders Tuesday evening at a workshop to discuss what community projects should take place in the historic town.

Out of eleven recommendations --.plans to upgrade the Waipahu Transit Center and fix area wide flooding issues received the most support.

"What I focused on mainly was the infrastructure. I think without infrastructure you're not going to be able to do a lot of the things that we want to do," concerned resident Ryan Ng said.

City officials say Waipahu Transit Center improvements are already underway in addition to street lighting upgrades and more pedestrian friendly roads. Those projects are expected to be complete within the next two to five years.

"Right now I'm in limbo," resident Robert Abe said.

Talk of change has Abe wondering what impacts it could have on his property. He owns and old plantation home not far from the rail line.

"I'm kind of in the middle there deciding whether to tear it down or restore it," said Abe.

As the revitalization of Waipahu moves forward, the city says it's looking into ways to keep folks from being priced out of housing. Right now officials are in talks with developers who interested in building affordable units.

"In addition to that there are several state owned parcels. The state is very interested in redeveloping some of them overtime," City Transit Oriented Development Administrator Harrison Rue said.

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