LAHAINA, Hawaii -- The Lahaina Town Action Committee is planning a
new visitor center for Hawaii's historic whaling capital.
The committee's offices and visitor center, which included a
gift shop and historic exhibits, was in Lahaina's old courthouse,
which is undergoing restoration. When the courthouse closed earlier
this year, the committee moved to temporary offices above the
Baldwin House, a Front Street missionary home museum. The offices
have no visitor facilities.
Theo Morrison, the committee's executive director, said plans
for the new visitor center have been submitted to Maui County for
approval, a process expected to take several months. The new
$500,000 visitor center and committee offices, expected to open
next year, will be on a vacant site at Lahaina Wharf next to the
The courthouse, dating to 1860 and once housing the court,
custom house and office of the island's governor, is the town's
last major historical building to be restored. The county has yet
to decide on the building's future use.
The Lahaina Arts Society previously had its gallery in the court
house basement. Called the Old Jail Gallery, it was housed in the
old jail, complete with original cells. The society's new gallery
is at the Lahaina Center, one of the town's many shopping
facilities, near the Hard Rock Cafe. However, society members also
continue to display their works under the courthouse's sprawling
Maui County completed an 18-month, $10 million improvement to
Front Street last year. Pavements were widened, most utility lines
were buried underground and parking was restricted to new bays.
Also, new wood signs, wood trash barrels, planters, bike stands and
Victorian-style street lighting were installed.
In other Lahaina news, Maui Brews, a 10,000-square-foot bistro
and nightclub, opened at Lahaina Center in April. It serves lunch
and dinner, offers more than 30 types of beer (16 on tap), and
entertainment and dancing to 2 a.m.
Also, a $1.2 million Ruth's Chris Steak House, the 64th for the
chain and the first on the neighbor islands, will open at Lahaina
Center this summer, in a location formerly occupied by a Chili's