East Hawaii News

Hilo Chosen in ‘Home Street Matters’ Repainting Contest

July 8, 2013, 10:56 AM HST
* Updated July 8, 1:19 PM
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Hilo has been selected as one of the winners of the “Main Street Matters” competition which picked 20 towns to have downtown buildings repainted, Benjamin Moore announced today.

As reported last month, the contest allowed residents to cast votes on the internet each day for towns selected from across the nation and Canada.

Alice Moon, executive director of the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, was ecstatic this morning.

“We are so, so excited,” she told Big Island Now.

The paint company said social media, with the involvement of a (nearly) local politician, helped put Hilo on its list of towns selected following voting that concluded June 30.

Benjamin Moore noted that the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association changed its Facebook page header to “Vote for Hilo!” with instructions on how to participate.

Also, freshman state Sen. Russell Ruderman posted a notice on his Facebook page encouraging votes for Hilo.

That is despite Hilo being outside of the district Ruderman represents which is Puna. One of the health food stores he owns is located in Hilo but not in the downtown area.

Moon described turnout on behalf of Hilo as “amazing,” as indicated by the comments on the contest website and the HDIA Facebook page.

“People from around the world voted for us,” she said. “Everybody loves Hilo!”

There certainly was some gushing going on about Hilo’s selection in the comments Benjamin Moore placed under the list of winning towns.

“So excited for our beautiful town of Hilo, Hawaii,” said commenter Lisa Anderson.

“Mahalo Nui from Hilo,” said Malissa.

“Thank you so much, Benjamin Moore Company!” said Malena Kea. “This will not only make our town shine … but help with its residents shining too. So excited.”

Commenter Genie Curti-Ruddle alluded to the town’s resilience in the face of two major tsunami disasters in the last century.

“CHEEEHUUU! Mahalo Nui e Benjamin Moore for selecting Hilo as one of your towns to spruce up,” Curti-Ruddle said. “It has suffered many a catastrophe over the years and the whole island will be celebrating our county seat’s win!”

The company said that it will be working with each town over the next year with the help of local Benjamin Moore dealers and local painting contractors for the painting projects.

Moon said she was told she’ll receive additional information about that process later today.

Others expressing gratitude for Hilo’s selection in Main Street Matters included Jeff Melrose, a planner who serves as president of the HDIA’a Board of Directors.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about it,” he said, adding the association is looking forward to getting more details about what will be involved, including which buildings will be chosen for painting.

The other winners in the contest can be found here.

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