An account manager at Gilbert & Associates, which handles marketing for all four of the Maui County’s town parties, just forwarded us the following email from Teena Rasmussen, the director of the county’s Office of Economic Development. According to the email, the county has determined that a town party “is just not the right fit” for Paia because of “traffic and safety issues.”
As a result, they are cancelling further town parties in Paia. Other town parties in Lahaina, Makawao and Wailuku appear to be unaffected.
Here’s the email exactly as we received it:
Dear Paia Merchants,
We want to thank each and every one of you for the tremendous work, organization, and monetary support you have provided to your Paia Friday Town Party over the past 9 months. Your dedication and effort has been greatly appreciated.
As hard as we all worked to make the Paia Friday Town party a success, we could not overcome the traffic and safety issues. We know that being able to close a road leads to a much safer and contained event. However, with Paia’s business community lining two very busy, main traffic corridors, closing the road was never an option.
Due to this and the numerous concerns that you as merchants have raised about safety, we feel this party is just not the right fit for Paia. Our office will be announcing on Friday afternoon at a Mayor’s press conference that there will no longer be a Friday Town Party in Paia, and
we will be looking for another venue for the fourth Friday party.
In the meantime, our Mayor’s Office of Economic Development wants to assure you that we will be supporting Paia and the North Shore with the upcoming Makani Classic Windsurfing Championship which will take place in October, and the KSP Kiteboarding Championship which takes place at the end of November. We will also continue to look for ways to promote Paia and the unique experience of shopping, dining, services and accommodations you offer to both our local residents and visitors.
The relationships we have established with you and the Paia community, will serve us well as we continue this fall season in promoting your premier water events.
We would like to urge you to continue your efforts to form an official Paia Merchant’s Association. There is strength in numbers, and strength in the unity of your message. Your community will need a strong voice from business as our county resources will be in higher demand than ever before.
Again, thank-you for your dedication to your businesses and to your community. You are providing valuable jobs for our local people and contribute greatly to our economy. We appreciate this and acknowledge the sacrifices you make for your businesses.
On behalf of Mayor Arakawa, best wishes on your continued success,
Teena M. Rasmussen
Office of Economic Development