Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $5 million to fund the construction of the Central Maui Regional Sports Complex just a week after Maui homeowners filed a lawsuit to stop the project.

The $25 million project is slated to include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields and a 700-stall parking lot across 65 acres in central Maui.

A nonprofit organization called Maui Lani Neighbors, made up of Central Maui homeowners, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 2 alleging that the project violates zoning laws and county planning documents.

Maui Sports Complex Groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for the Maui Sports Complex on July 31.

Courtesy of the Office of the Lt. Governor

The group sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources in July requesting that the project be halted.

But the complex broke ground on July 31.

“The state’s refusal to specifically respond to the numerous violations cited in our cease-and-desist letter, and our concerns regarding the serious impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods, left us no choice,” said David Potter, president of the Maui Lani Neighbors Board, in a press release on Sept. 3. “Even if the sports fields are needed, it doesn’t justify violating our land use laws, which are supposed to ensure developers, including the state, adhere to the county’s planning documents.”

The group argues that the project should instead be placed on a 209-acre lot further south.

But both Abercrombie and Tsutsui are backing the project.

“I was on Maui last month to help break ground on a sports complex that will provide a variety of recreational opportunities, along with social and economic benefits to the residents of the Valley Isle and the entire state,” Abercrombie said in a press release Tuesday. “This is just one of many DLNR projects to improve our state parks system and natural resources.”

“This sports complex addresses the needs of Central Maui’s growing community,” Tsutsui said. “It will provide a place for families and athletes of all ages to play. Central Maui Regional Sports Complex could also serve as a revenue generator for Maui as well as the State of Hawaii as teams use the park for tournaments.”

Tsutsui is spearheading a statewide Sports Development Initiative to “establish Hawaii as a premier sports destination for professional, amateur and youth athletics,” according to the state’s website.

Click here to read more about the lawsuit.

Rendering of the Maui Sports Complex

Rendering of the Maui Sports Complex

Courtesy of the Office of the Lt. Governor

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