East Hawaii Cultural Center to put up fence to combat crime

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald A passerby Monday walks by the annex behind the East Hawaii Cultural Center.

The East Hawaii Cultural Center plans to fence its property after items were stolen from the nonprofit during a Feb. 14 burglary.

In a post on its Facebook page, the center announced that within a two-week period a cover protecting a kiln was stolen, as well as materials and art supplies meant for keiki activities.

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While security has been an issue at the cultural center in the past, the latest events convinced staff to plan and design a fence to protect the center and its annex.

“This decision came after a culmination of issues we have had the past few weeks,” said Vice Chair Carol Walker. “Recently, we even had an associate pushed to the ground by someone seemingly breaking into a car, which shattered their arm and caused them to need orthopedic surgery.”

Employees at EHCC, which is located in downtown Hilo, also have had to deal with intruders on the property, and each day the staff cleans up around the site, which sometimes is littered with excrement and needles.

“We work hard to keep the premises clean and safe for the community, but this has been a consistent issue for us,” Walker said. “The fencing will help discourage theft and make our grounds safer for visitors and staff.”

The center is working with the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation, which owns the building and the annex, to design a fence with commercial-grade chain links fortified with slats that will be both attractive to look at and hard to break into.

After designing the fence with Parks and Recreation, EHCC will present the design to the County Council for funding approval.

After a discussion with a fencing contractor, EHCC is anticipating a cost of $10,000 and is currently raising funds on its Facebook page and website.

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“The community has already been so supportive of us, and we’re so grateful to everyone that has checked on us already,” Walker said.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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