Building Community Resilience in Koolauloa
by Michael Choe | Aug. 14, 2021
Tucked away in Hauula along Hanaimoa Street and Hauula Homestead Road is the future site of a community hub that’ll serve as not just a gathering place, but an emergency shelter in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tropical storm. The planned Koolauloa Community Center and Resilience Hub is the brainchild of Hauula Community Association President Dotty Kelly-Paddock, who recognized the need for the facility and is working to make that vision a reality for Koolauloa residents.
In a worst-case scenario where the entire Hauula area must be evacuated, there’s no storm shelter for about 40 miles, according to Dotty. And with a long strip of the main road — Kamehameha Highway — having single lanes, you can imagine what traffic would be like before a storm hits when all Koolauloa residents try to evacuate at the same time. When the hub is built, it’ll be able to help ease the sense of panic and urgency among area residents by providing security and safety in their own hometown.
When it finally comes to fruition, the Koolauloa Community Center and Resilience Hub will provide a space for gathering, learning and sharing culture. Dotty believes it will allow the community to grow stronger and socialize together. She mentioned that even the preparation and construction has been a community effort. Most of the work is being done by volunteers who have forged relationships with one another while giving back to Koolauloa.
It’s exciting to see this project come to life. I was fortunate to get a tour of the area, which is currently being cleared to prepare for construction. I could picture the resilience hub in all its entirety serving and benefitting the community of Koolauloa while keeping them safe.
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/prepare.
Michael Choe is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric.