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Mo'ili'ili hoping to recapture vibrancy

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Mo'ili'ili hoping to recapture vibrancy

A new landmark in old Mo'ili'ili is the torii at the juncture of South King and Beretania streets. It was a gift from Hiroshima, Japan, to Honolulu.

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Mo'ili'ili residents and business know the golden age of their community is behind them. The once-thriving center of sports in Honolulu and the heart of local Japanese society now has an aging infrastructure, major parking problems and an entrenched homeless population.

But as the community looks for ways to retain its historic sense of place, businesses are moving forward with plans to reshape Mo'ili'ili as the center of student life for the nearby University of Hawai'i-Manoa.

"We are all here to try to make this a thriving community again," said Darryl Wong, head of Old Town Mo'ili'ili Business Association. "We are more of a local market, not a visitor market. Most of our businesses are geared toward the university or the local population. The key is: How can we help create a way to keep the university students here? That means affordable housing for students

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