On Nov. 26, 1962, the Charter of Incorporation of the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association was approved as a not-for-profit corporation. The original charter listed eight “objects and purposes” of the corporation that continue to guide the soon-to-be 50-year-old DIA. Although neither the original charter nor the bylaws attached to it used the more modern strategy of listing a mission statement, those objects and purposes laid the foundation. On Aug. 18, 1987, the DIA amended the bylaws to include, among other things, a general mission statement:
“In addition to the objects, purposes and powers set forth in the DIA’s Charter of Incorporation, the DIA shall foster, promote, maintain and encourage the civic, social, commercial, tourist, and economic welfare of the downtown portion of Hilo.”
Over the last 50 years, the DIA has developed and implemented dozens of successful projects that have served this mission with a positive impact on the community. Through two tsunamis, two World Wars, recessions, depressions, sugar plantation shutdowns, and numerous other disasters, the DIA has persevered and even expanded the organization’s goals, objectives and reach.
Today, the success of the DIA is due, in large part, to increased accessibility, outreach and grassroots efforts to seriously engage stakeholders, including community members who live, work, play and/or come through downtown. This bottom-up planning has lessened DIA’s dependence on governmental agencies, developed more than 40 public/private partnerships, and serves a membership base of 125 businesses, property owners, individuals and organizations.
One of the most exciting DIA partnerships is with the EnVision Downtown Hilo 2025 Community Based Vision and Living Action Plan, which began as a process in 2004. After hundreds of volunteers gave thousands of hours to craft the original plan and then create a five-year update of the plan, the document is still “living” with projects now being proposed on a crowd-sourced place-making website: www.ourdowntownhilo.com. Several projects are in the process of implementation, and if you are interested in finding out more about the 32 posted projects, please go to the website and get involved or contact DIA Executive Director Alice Moon at the information listed at the end of this column.
To keep up with the changing times and in preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the DIA, the board of directors is also in the midst of a survey to “take the temperature of DIA members, downtown merchants, landowners and supporters.” The board is hoping to compile the data and get a broad-based “candid assessment of the current issues and opportunities in downtown.” The survey will serve to gauge member and community expectations of the organization as it moves forward and into the next 50 years. To participate in the survey, go to http://www.isalient.com/app/index.php.
l Everyone is invited to the Village Toy Shop on Waianuenue Avenue for the store’s Seventh Birthday Party this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. The party will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the learning garden park, a project of Let’s Grow Hilo, which is located adjacent to the shop. Next to the garden there will be an unveiling of a new mural in downtown thanks to artist Hopper Sheldon and dozens of kids who attended free Art Day Saturdays twice a month at the shop over the last year.
“A whimsical, fun and uplifting piece of ‘Art by Hopper’ is emerging on the side of a Matson container (near the shop),” said owner Janet Louise, “Please come by, celebrate our birthday, have some punch and cookies and see the progress!”
l Also on this Saturday, Marius Stranger’s Island Swing Orchestra, a 16-piece “big band,” will be performing swing-era hits of the 1930s and 1940s in their original arrangements from 1-3 p.m. at the Mooheau Bandstand. Jazz vocalists Lou Ann Gurney and Kau‘i Trainor join the band to offer an afternoon of great free dance music. The big County Band takes to Mooheau Bandstand the following Saturday, Aug. 11, at 12 p.m.
l Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko holds its 10th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, Aug., 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Palace Theater. Tickets are $10 and include an evening of taiko drumming, dancing, music, and special guests as a lead in event for the Haari Boat Festival happening at Wailoa Park over the Admissions Day weekend. For tickets, call Nancy at 961-4677.
l Formerly called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” the “2012 WhY-Walk” coordinated by YWCA of Hawaii Island takes place Saturday, Aug. 25, from 7:30-10 a.m. through downtown. Mayor Billy Kenoi and men from all walks of life walk one mile in women’s shoes to call attention to and help put a stop to rape, sexual assault and family violence. Walkers seek pledges and raise money for YWCA’s related programs as individuals or as teams. For sign up info, call 935-7141 or email email@example.com.
Around Downtown is written by Alice Moon, executive director of the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association. Call Moon at 935-8850 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to share news about issues, events and activities.