The brand new Hauula Fire Station is up and running.
Firefighters moved in and started responding to calls following a blessing ceremony late last month.
Now — what to do with the old station?
The community has a big idea.
Safety is a major difference between the new station and the old one which is right on Kamehameha Highway.
That made leaving and returning — dicey — for both firefighters and for drivers.
The new station’s driveway is on Kawaipuna Street — so when trucks return — instead of blocking the highway to back into the station — they can safely do so from the side street.
Capt. Scot Seguirant, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department, says, “We’re hoping that its going to be a lot safer for our firefighters and for the community.”
Now that the old station is vacant — people have ideas for its future.
Community member Eric Kaaihue says, “I wanted to see if I can get it for the homeless. For you know, health reasons, you know, showers, hot meal, washing their clothes.”
Neighborhood Board Homeless Committee Chairman Vanley Auna supports the idea of a service center that is Hauula-run.
“I feel there’s a need for it. I feel that if we can give back to the homeless in our community, we get back a lot more in return.”
The property was given to the city for Hauula Fire Station in 1950, by Executive Order of the Territory of Hawaii.
According to city spokesman Andrew Pereira — since the land belongs to the state — any change in use would have be approved by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
He says there has been no decision about future use of the station — and that the city welcomes public input.
Kaaihue says the city has spent millions of dollars re-furbishing other buildings to serve the homeless — but he is a carpenter who estimates the fire station won’t cost nearly as much.
“This one here is minimal. Minimal repair and money. So I’m hoping they will let us have it. But you know, no telling what they’re going to do. So we’ll just keep on going, you know. Like they say a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. (laughs)”
We’ll follow the community’s progress — and report back to you.