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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       July 14, 2006

Release M-83-06





            Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced the 10 winners of the “Bright Ideas” competition to propose innovative ways to help rejuvenate Chinatown.

            Each winning suggestion earns a $4,000 grant. The winning ideas include capital improvements and special events and programs, all aimed at helping to revitalize Chinatown or nurture its growing culture and arts presence.  

            The Bright Ideas program was unveiled at the Mayor’s Chinatown Summit three weeks ago. In response to the call for ideas, 130 one-page proposals were submitted to the Hawaii Arts Alliance.

            “This goes to show that people do share the enthusiasm I have for the future of Chinatown,” said Mayor Hannemann. “Often, after large meetings and sessions such as our Chinatown Summit, it takes a year or more for follow-up action to occur. I’m very excited that we are able to keep the momentum from our Chinatown Summit going by providing these awards.”

             The winners were chosen by a committee headed by Nancy Aleck, executive director of the Hawaii People’s Fund, and Louise Li, community service director at Kukui Tower.

            The Bright Ideas program was devised by Mayor Mufi Hannemann with the Ford Foundation and the Hawaii Arts Alliance. In a pre-summit meeting with the mayor, Miguel Garcia of the Ford Foundation offered to put up $20,000 for the grants. Mayor Hannemann said he would obtain matching funds, which he did, from five local banks: American Savings Bank, Bank of Hawaii, Central Pacific Bank, First Hawaiian Bank and Hawaii National Bank.

            Hannemann said, “I want to personally thank the Ford Foundation and our five leading financial institutions for making these awards possible.” 

            The Bright Idea winners will develop their one-page suggestions into full proposals through the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development.

            The Bright Ideas for Chinatown are:

·           A Night at Aala Park: Kelfred Chang. Have an Asian ethnic movie night similar to Sunset on the Beach several times during the year, with Asian cultural groups encouraged to participate, Asian start-up companies to be showcased, food booths.

·           Mural Art for Chinatown: Helene Bron. Beautify and improve Chinatown by using blank walls as canvasses to promote art, education, history, culture and social justice, encouraging both locals and visitors to tour the area.

·           Arts and Crafts Fairs in Chinatown: Hui-Fang Bauer. To capitalize on increasing tourism and cruise ship passengers at Aloha Tower and to attract residents to shop from local vendors and tour the Chinatown area.

·           Expand the weekly “Hawaii Chinese News”: Elroy Chun, to provide internships for interested high school and college students to prepare news stores and features on individuals and businesses in the residential/merchant community in Chinatown for this bilingual, Chinatown-based publication that also reaches older ethnic Chinese.

·           Chinatown Night Market: Zheng Qirong of the Chinese Culinary Arts Society. To create an evening activity to curtail undesirable activity in the area and to revitalize the identity of Chinatown through a night market at Smith-Beretania Neighborhood Park during First Friday to bridge the Arts and Cultural District with Chinatown.

·           Chinatown Cultural Showcase: Elaine Evans of the Hawaii Theatre Center. Have a professional producer work with Chinatown residents to showcase their talents and create a multicultural variety show to celebrate the cultures and traditions that coexist in Chinatown.

·           Historic Preservation Plaques: JoDee Hunt. Install museum-quality plaques on corners of buildings, determined by their historical or cultural significance to Chinatown. Each plaque would give a short story about or a description of the historical significance of the building. The plaques would be invaluable assets for self-guided or commercial cultural tours of Chinatown.

·           Aural Futures – A Guided Walking Tour of Alternative Futures: Jake Dunagan and staff of the Hawaii Research Center for Future Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Make an in-depth analysis and description of major Chinatown landmarks, not as they exist now but as they would (or would not) exist in several distinct alternative futures and create a Chinatown walking tour of 2036.

·           Modification, Renovation and Recreation of the Nuuanu Streamside Pedestrian Mall: Val Yanagihara. Create a pedestrian bridge connecting Pauahi Street to Aala Park, beautifying Nuuanu Stream into a major tourist and resident attraction with its natural sites, historical buildings, gardens, shops and restaurants in the area.

·           Parking Meter System Changes: Kim Coffee-Isaak. Promote easy access and convenient affordable parking as an integral part of a thriving neighborhood by implementing meters that accept both coin and electronic card readers and using other cities as models to explore such systems as POM Advanced Parking Meters, NYC pre-paid parking cards, and cellular phone-paid parking.





            Michael Pili Pang, Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, 523-4674

            Alenka Remec, Office of Economic Development, 527-5761

            Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 527-6928

Friday, July 14, 2006

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