No more poop on our stoop

We are raising $5,000 for security gates. Help keep the theater clean by donating today! Read on for more details.

Day after day in the heart of downtown Hilo, the staff of the Palace Theater must dispose of human excrement from the entrance to the historic venue, located at 38 Haili St.

Scooping fecal matter, washing away urine stains and scrubbing bodily fluids off the newly renovated façade is part of the daily routine of opening the building. The overnight activity of people camping out within the recesses of the theater’s three entrance bays has escalated to the point where the safety of the building, and the health of staff and patrons are at risk.

“There have been small fires lit on the theater’s stoop by folks who assemble makeshift shelters from found materials,” says executive director Phillips Payson. “If one spark were to get out of control, our beloved venue would burn down like the Akebono Theater of Pahoa in 2017.

“The theater’s team finds itself in a position shared by many of the bay front business owners. We deal with vandalism on a daily basis. We’ve filed restraining orders and fixed the shattered glass of poster cases. We’ve replaced punched-out windows, scrubbed vulgar graffiti off the walls, and cleaned up rotten food scraps and cigarette butts from off our steps.  Twisted screws have been removed from the walls that were used to hang plastic tarps. But worst of all is the literal poop on our stoop!”

The theater steps are frequently occupied by overnight campers who set up dangerous makeshift dwellings which damage the building.

To combat the increasing risk, Palace Theater is investing in three overhead security gates to prevent people from camping overnight on the front steps. The steel gates will drop down from a discreet housing chamber built behind the existing awning. This means that when the theater is open during the day and for events, the gates will be rolled up and remain completely out of sight. When locked up over night, the gates will keep the entrance bays secure and preserve the vibrant charm of the historic venue.

“This is an expensive project, but an important undertaking to ensure the safety and health of the theater and our community,” says Payson. “We are seeking to raise $5,000 in community donations by Oct. 8. When the $5,000 goal is reached, a generous private donor has pledged a two-for-one match of $10,000 to cover the remaining cost of the project. Every dollar raised ensures the Palace will remain a vibrate cultural hub and your donation helps keep the poop off the stoop.”

Help the theater hit this financial goal and contribute to this fundraising campaign by making a tax-deductible donation now by clicking HERE.

What other projects are happening behind the scenes?

Improvements both big and small have been made to the theater recently. After 3+ years of work, the sprinkler system has PASSED final inspection from the fire department ensuring the safety of all patrons, performers, and staff.

Air Conditioning installation is nearing completion! The AC unit has been hooked up to the building, with all ducting installed to provide the auditorium with fresh, cool air. The electrical team is hard at work installing the control panel and providing the finishing touches to the system to get it ready to turn on. The amount of support the community has invested in the Theater Comfort project over the years is truly remarkable.

The whole team behind the scenes of the Palace Theater is immensely grateful and appreciative of all the support the community has provided this Grande Olde Dame, especially during the difficulties under COVID. The Palace is such an important part of Hilo’s history, and would not be the venue it is today without the love, care, and attention it receives from the community.  When you attend an event, donate to a fundraising campaign, or simply spread the word of what’s going on at the theater, it helps keep the Palace alive as an inspiring gathering place for all.

Help support the preservation of the theater today by making a tax deductible donation. Ever dollar pledged goes twice as far thanks to the generous 2-for-1 match from a private donor. Your support brings us closer to the goal of $5,000, Donate today and help keep the Poop of the Stoop!