Oahu Neighborhood Profiles: Central O'ahu
The Heart of O'ahu
"O'ahu's Coolest Town"
If there is any community on Oahu that looks like an all-American city, it's Mililani. It's an exemplary town of well-kept homes and streets, modern shopping centers, movie theaters, churches and fine schools. It's a breath of fresh air, with beautiful parks, tennis courts, ball fields, hiking and biking trails, swimming pools and recreation centers. And it was all part of the plan.
Faced with a shrinking demand for the pineapple and sugar grown on this part of west central Oahu, landowner Castle & Cooke turned to real estate development. This was a great location for the company to start a new town. The elevation rises from 700 to 1,000 feet above sea level, creating cooler temperatures and interesting topography, ringed by magnificent mountains and interspersed with rugged ravines.
In 1961, the company began creating the master plan for a fully functional satellite city. Their dream was to build a well-designed community with none of the gangly urban sprawl that had marred other areas.
Today, Mililani is a tribute to the builder's dream and the people who fulfilled their own dreams by making Mililani their home.
Mililani's consistently high property values are assured by its own people. The group in charge is the Mililani Town Association, a nonprofit organization made up of all the town's homeowners. Their purpose is to guide and safeguard design standards, oversee the maintenance of all common areas, and run the six recreation centers.
The 35,000 citizens of Mililani enjoy a vast range of styles and price ranges in single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and apartments. The iron-rich soil that once yielded acres of sugar cane and pineapple now nourishes yards and gardens and the lush landscaping that grows in proliferation throughout Mililani's 3,500 acres.
Wahiawa can lay claim to having the island's coolest temperatures because it's situated on the highest terrain. Oahu's tallest peak, 4,000-ft. Mt. Kaala is part of Wahiawa. In earlier times, the area was attractive to ancient Hawaiians who liked its cooler climate and plentiful game. On the land now occupied by the U.S. Army's Schofield Barracks, Oahu chiefs once trained their armies.
The Dole pineapple empire took root here over 100 years ago when James Dole planted his first 61 acres in Wahiawa. Pineapple is still grown around these parts and the Dole Plantation Center welcomes nearly a million visitors a year.
"Welcome to Wahiawa" signs on the edge of town are emblazoned with gold and green pineapples. And it should come as no surprise that Wahiawa High School's colors are leaf green and pineapple gold.
Looking past its pineapple culture, Wahiawa is about as small-town comfy as it gets. Homes here come in all shapes, sizes and prices, from townhouses, condominiums and patio homes to single-family dwellings in friendly neighborhoods.
Wahiawa Community Hospital is a deserving source of great pride, and a brand-new fire station is scheduled for completion this year. Just about every known fast-food chain has moved into town, mingling with cafes and restaurants featuring delicious local fare.
It's a family kind of place, with movie theaters, shopping centers, baseball, softball and soccer fields and a ton of recreational activities, including freshwater boating and fishing on Lake Wilson to the south.
No doubt about it. Wahiawa-town is a cool slice of pineapple heaven.
*Content provided courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser