Koko Head park plan released
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau
HAWAI'I KAI In the next three to four years, Koko Head District Park could look drastically different, with landscaping, picnic tables, a skate park, a disc golf course, soccer and multi-use playing fields, additional restrooms, more parking and bicycle racks.
Anyone wishing to comment on the draft environmental impact report should send comments to the city Department of Planning and Permitting, 650 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96813, Attn: Steve Tagawa, or call 523-4755. The deadline is Sept. 22.
Changes also are planned for the Koko Head Shooting Complex, which is below the park along Kalaniana'ole Highway, including an archery range and sound baffling. Those improvements will be made as soon as the city obtains its state shoreline management and conservation district use permits, according to the report, which was compiled after numerous community meetings and discussions with the city Department of Parks and Recreation over the past year.
"It's happening about as fast as it could happen," said Jerry Hucks, a proponent of the archery range at the shooting complex. "There was some anticipation of using the space at the complex already, but we were offered a larger space outside the range, so we need to go through the environmental impact statement process."
The first phase of improvements at the district park will cost about $4.4 million. Improvements at the Koko Head Shooting Complex will cost about $3.4 million. The city has appropriated slightly more than $3 million in its 2002 budget for planning, design and construction of the first phase of improvements, said Carol Costa, city spokeswoman. Improvements to the shooting complex will require a separate budget, Costa said.
The improvements are necessary to meet the growing demand for recreational activities in East Honolulu.
Today, the district park has one full-size and three youth baseball fields, six tennis courts, two basketball courts, a volleyball court, a fitness center and a playground. The park has expanded to 59 acres with the recent addition of a 19-acre Hawai'i Job Corps site.
Other improvements outlined in future phases projected to be built and financed, possibly over the next 10 years, include a teen center, playground equipment, new tennis courts, jogging and walking paths, more parking, a 50-meter swimming pool, an in-line skate hockey rink and lighting. The improvements will cost an estimated $14 million.
As for the shooting complex, the improvements are necessary to boost safety at the range, which was established in 1937 when Hawai'i Kai was largely farmland. Today, many people complain about the noise and worry about the danger of errant bullets, which have been found as far away as the Hanauma Bay parking lot.
"I started at the very beginning and read most of the way through it," said Mary Houghton, Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board parks and recreation committee chairwoman. "It tracks with the plans of the community and of what we wanted included in the district park. I tried to nitpick it to pieces and didn't find much to comment on."