Wednesday , 26 July 2017

Our History

In 1960, WCA was created to provide leadership by strengthening Waipahu’s capacity to become a better place to live, work, visit and do business.  After a period of dormancy, WCA was reactivated in July 2000 to provide focused attention to community-based projects.  WCA is a 501©3 organization with a broad based membership of current and former Waipahu residents, faith-based organizations, volunteer groups, businesses and others.  We are currently located on Waipahu Depot Road, at the Waipahu Festival Marketplace.

Waipahu is located 14 miles west of Honolulu with the H-1 freeway dividing the “old” and “new” sections of the community.  Established over 100 years ago, “old” Waipahu was once a vibrant, multi-ethnic sugar plantation town whose key corporate element was the Oahu Sugar Company and Arakawas General Store.  For over 85 years, Waipahu served as a major commercial center outside of Honolulu.  With the gradual decline of the sugar industry, the community’s economic and social vitality slowly began to deteriorate.  The historic town core centered on Waipahu Depot Road was devastated by the closures of the sugar mill and Arakawas in 1995 and Bigway Market in 1999.

In 1998, a Waipahu Empowerment Zone Task Force, representing a board cross-section of the community, developed a comprehensive community-based economic development strategic plan in a proactive effort to regain the community’s economic and social vitality.  While unable to obtain the Empowerment Zone designation, in June 1999, the task force sought and received a $65,000 Agenda for Building Communities grant to reactivate and re-engineer the dormant Waipahu Community Association (WCA) to provide focused attention on the planning, development and implementation of projects that would enable the community to achieve a collective vision of.

In July 2000, the Waipahu Community Association (WCA) was officially reactivated and received its 501© (3) non-profit designation in October 2000.  Its broad based membership consists of present and former residents, the faith community, public and private schools, social service providers, businesses and other community based organizations.

WCA, shortly after reactivation in 2000, helped to bring the Weed & Seed strategy to Waipahu.  Weed & Seed is a Department of Justice initiative administered locally by the U.S. Attorney’s office.  It is a collaborative strategy between residents, law enforcement agencies, social service providers, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, and others to reclaim, restore, and rebuild neighborhoods and communities.  The strategy focuses on law enforcement to “weed” out criminal and undesired elements and replacing them with “seed” initiatives designed to strengthen and deter crime from returning.  WCA served as the lead “seed” agency in Waipahu from 2000-2008.

In 2004, the WCA received a Weed & Seed Collaboration Award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Capacity Development Office, for its “exemplary” contribution as a partnering agency in the implementation of the Waipahu Festival Market project, under the Honolulu, Hawaii Weed & Seed Program.

In addition, WCA helped to create the Waipahu Community Coalition—starting in 2002.  The coalition, consisting of a broad membership of individuals and groups in Waipahu, was developed to focus on community building efforts and drug and substance abuse prevention through various programs and activities.  WCA served as the umbrella organization for the coalition from 2002-2009 and from 2011-2012.

Currently, WCA continues to work with both Weed & Seed Waipahu and the Waipahu Community Coalition (Waipahu CBDO) to better our community.

A significant economic development and community revitalization project of the WCA is the creation and successful operation of the Waipahu Festival Marketplace and Business Incubator and Training Center, which opened in 2007.