Downtown painting project completed


Downtown Hilo’s latest paint job ended right on time and is receiving mixed reviews.

Art sales consultant Ashley Allen said she voted nonstop for Hilo to win a spot in the 2013 Main Street Matters competition, hosted by paint company Benjamin Moore &Co.

Hilo was one of 20 areas across the U.S. and Canada that were picked for the promotional campaign. Towns were selected following a six-week voting period at www.paintwhatmatters.com.

Allen, who works at Dreams of Paradise Gallery located at 308 Kamehameha Ave., said although the storefronts “look good,” the paint job was “a little redundant.”

“I wish they would have done the upper level, too,” she said. “They painted over the area where business owners already paint.”

Allen said it’s her understanding that business owners are in charge of storefronts while the rest of the building maintenance is left to property managers and owners.

And although Benjamin Moore offered businesses $10 off per gallon for Benjamin Moore exterior paint of up to 10 gallons, Allen said “that’s not really a discount.”

Ann Marie Chew, property manager for Abundant Life Natural Foods, Hilo Aloha Wear and Mee Ra’ja, said she was slightly disappointed since the company orginally said they’d paint the building’s awning and didn’t.

“It was a nice offer, I’m glad we won, but I wish they would have done what they said they’re going to do,” she said.

However, some shop owners and employees are pleased with the overall results.

Monica “Lokilani” Bounds, a sales associate for Charlie’s Big Island Candies, said she “loves it.”

“I think anything vibrant makes a difference and that the change is good,” she said. “I notice a difference when I sit across the street. It really spruces things up. It’s way more vibrant now and makes each business pop.”

Meera Decourt, owner of Mee Ra’ja said a customer came into her store a few days ago and commented that the storefronts look “more alive.”

“And I think the whole street looks brighter,” she said Wednesday afternoon.

Alice Moon, executive director of Hilo’s Downtown Improvement Association and advocate for the project, said “it’s beautiful.”

“It really made a big difference,” she said. “It put a little brightness and color and it’s just fabulous. It created a vibe and energy and people are very excited for it and are looking forward to the Chinese blessing on Saturday.”

Project managers aimed to have the painting done by the Chinese New Year on Feb. 1.

Dion Kawakami, local contractor hired for the job, said the painting was finished on Jan. 31. The completion of the project will be honored by the Big Island Shaolin Arts Lion Dancers at 9 a.m. today at the Hilo Farmer’s Market, and will kick off the 12th annual Chinese New Year Festival.

According to a previous article written in the Tribune-Herald, the paint job effected businesses from Mamo Street to Waianuenue Avenue on Kamehameha Avenue.

For more information about the project, visit www.paintwhatmatters.com.

Email Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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