East Hawaii News

Kamehameha Avenue To Get New Paint Job

September 17, 2013, 4:29 PM HST
* Updated September 17, 4:59 PM
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Kamehameha Avenue will be the beneficiary of Hilo’s winning effort in Benjamin Moore Paints’ “Main Street Matters” contest in July.

Downtown Hilo was one of 20 downtown areas across the nation selected by the paint company from hundreds of contestants to get the free makeover.

Downtown Improvement Association Director Alice Moon said the contest galvanized a strong community effort to win the “Main Street Matters” contest.

Moon said a group including Benjamin Moore crews and downtown community representatives toured the area last week and decided that the Bayfront exposure of Kamehameha Avenue would give the project its biggest visual impact.

“We wanted to get the biggest bang we could,” Moon said.

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All the buildings in the designated area will be cleaned, prepped and painted on the first-floor only from the sidewalks up to and including the eaves, Moon said. Benjamin Moore Paints’ experts will suggest color schemes but property owners may choose their own.

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The project is expected to start in January and should take three to four weeks to complete.

Moon hopes it will be done by the start of Chinese Lunar New Year on Jan. 30. Traditionally, the month prior is a time of renewal — cleaning house, painting and fixing up. “It’s good timing,” she said. The DIA co-sponsors the annual Chinese New Year’s Celebration on Feb. 8.

Local contractors will be hired to do the work, and Benjamin Moore officials are beginning to work with contractors and property owners now. “They’re committed,” Moon said.

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HPM Building Supply, exclusive dealer for Benjamin Moore Paints on the Big Island, helped coordinate the winning effort in Hilo.

“We’re just thrilled,” said HPM Marketing Director Lee Wilson. “No matter what, this will be a benefit to the community and definitely beautify our town. We’re looking forward to working with the community.”

Only the length of the project along Kamehameha Avenue remains uncertain as talks begin with individual property owners. “It gets a little complicated,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, volunteers are stepping up to do work on the “periphery” of the project as well, Moon said. The Lions Club, Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce and others are cleaning gutters and sidewalks, installing planters, painting murals.

“People are excited,” said Moon. “It’s awesome. We want to revitalize the whole town.”

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