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Kekaha The Place to Be

Kekaha, translated into English, is "The Place". It was once a "sugar plantation town" that is commonly referred to as a "bedroom community".  It has a minimum of retail outlets, 4 educational institutions (1public elementary school grades K-5; 1 parochial school, grades K-8; 2 charter Hawaiian language immersion schools, K-12).  The community is comprised of residential neighborhoods, several faith-based establishments, and variety of cottage-industries including B&B, time-shares,, and computer-based businesses. Kekaha is situated on the way to the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Mana and the Kokee mountains that feature scenic attractions which are considered to be the finest and among the most photographed in the nation.

    Kekaha is, geographically, the south-westernmost small town in the USA, so its post office, schools, stores and churches gain some national recognition simply by being where they are. However remote Kekaha might be, it's close proximity to PMRF and to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific puts this town on the highway to technical megatrends as well as being a conduit to a host of world travelers seeking a glimpse of paradise. Imposed upon that juxtaposition is the prevailing attitude among its residents that they  desire to keep life simple, safe and wholesome.

    With this in mind, returning to the "good old plantation days" of yesteryear is an exercise in futility. We know we need to keep up with the times--including aspects that come with the Information Age; the immediacy of cyberspace connections; and the demand for employment opportunities and levels of entry that require appropriate validation of educational credentials and levels of entry that require appropriate validation of educational credentials and background experience. At the same time, we need to maintain those ideals and values that foster caring and sharing with respect for each other and the environment.

    In light of these statements and observations, it is imperative for the residents of this community to become PRO-ACTIVE in a formalized and cohesive manner to determine specific goals and objectives to fulfill its mission, a process must be established by which the schools, churches, athletic teams (adults and children), senior citizens, business enterprises, civic organizations, service agencies, financial institutions, health providers, artists, philanthropists, and special interests groups of every sort and variety will be willing to formulate cohesive strategies to implement. There needs to be focus on such topics as:

There needs to be focus on such topics as:
  • New Housing Development
  • An Aging Population
  • The needs and interest of our youth
  • The continual impact of the Information Highway
  • The presence of substance abuse affecting all age groups and social-economic levels.
  • The options that need to be created or sought after to ensure economic opportunity and entrepreneurial ventures
  • Safely and Health Measures
  • Infrastructural  provisions and maintenance
  • Community-base activities that require community -monitoring
  • The advent of tourism on our rural areas
  • The preservation protection of our finite resources

Because of the scope of possibilities as aforementioned, these proposals and considerations are offered as possible approaches:

Establish a Hibiscus Park/Wellness Center Attraction: This can be an economic anchor for the community, replacing the sugar cane history of the town. With appropriate landscaping and the combination of health facilities and programs on the premises, it can be a unique experience for visitors and residents to enjoy. This complex may also be designed to be a natural-disaster holding area for area residents ( of Kekaha and Waimea). As such, this concept may also support a community-gardening program which promotes self-reliance and self-sustainability. Through this effort, food provisions for the hospital, the care homes, the schools, senior citizens and community residents may be available.

Explore the possibility of creating a Mill Mall/Museum: The approach (separate or combined with the suggestion above) is envisioned to be "rural" in its ambiance. The local manapua shop, saimin corner, the malasada outlet. "home-cooking" restaurants, the local craft and hobby shops, along with the mementos of the plantation lifestyle could be well received. The site can also host a pharmacy outlet, a beauty-health salon, a sewing fabric center; offices for social services agencies, etc.

Explore the possibility of creating a Cosmetics Industry: By producing shampoos, lotions, colognes, creams and oils with fragrances from maile, pikake, ginger, etc. these products may be worth our time and attention. Folk-medicine health products line Noni and bitter melon derivatives could be a part of this endeavor.


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