HANAPEPE — Tuesday was kind of a free day, said Sadie Doi of the Hanapepe Senior Centers at the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center.
“This is when we get to work on our beautification project headed by Kenneth Uchibori,” Doi said.
Doi said the Hanapepe seniors took on the project because they wanted to keep the front of the Hanapepe Neighborhood Center neat and kept.
“It used to just be grass and water would collect,” Doi said. “Because the county lets us use this neighborhood center, we need to give back, and this beautification project is one way we show how much we appreciate having this place.”
The grass was replaced with a Desert Rose garden, garnished with Buddha Belly and a surrounding area of lawn grass. Its maintenance is done by the Hanapepe seniors on their “free days,” usually once a month, and sometimes, twice a month.
But Doi said the plants have been disappearing.
“Someone is coming and taking the grass which was donated by No Ka Oi Plants,” Doi said. “On top of that, they’re breaking the Desert Rose and Buddha Belly. People work hard to make this place beautiful, and to think there are people who think it’s for their use.”
Doi said a lot of the plants used in the landscaping are also used as root stock for the plants the group sells as a fundraiser for Na Kupuna Council during the annual seniors craft fair.
“We do have people who come and ask if they can have some of the ti leaves,” Doi said. “We always try to say yes. They can have what they need just as long as they don’t destroy the other plants.”
The head of the Hanapepe Senior Center said they called the police to report the disappearing plants.
She said they were also promised street lamps to provide security.
“We’re supposed to have three poles,” Doi said. “One is right across the entrance, one is at the start of the access road, and one more down near the pay telephone. During the night, it gets really dark in this area without lights, and no one can see if people are pilfering the plants.”
Doi said the group’s efforts got a big boost from Dow Agrosciences who came in and repainted the center, the county providing the paint, and Dow providing the manpower.
“The place looks really nice after all that work,” Doi said. “Kenneth comes in whenever there is a scratch on the wall and repairs it right away so the place stays clean for a long time. People should take care of this community center.”