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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, December 31, 2001

Kalihi housing getting new look

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

One phase down, another in progress and a decade or so to go.

Renovations are ongoing at the Kalihi Valley Homes housing project.

Advertiser library photo

Sister Rose Anthony Tanio says she's delighted with the initial renovations to Kalihi Valley Homes, the sprawling public housing complex in which she has lived for more than 15 years. But, she says, the tremendous energy and attention it took to ensure that resident concerns were represented in the early stages must be sustained.

The complex, built in 1953 on 24 acres along Kamehameha IV Road and Likelike Highway, had never undergone significant renovation until this year. The years of neglect were evident in the dilapidated structures and, most significantly, the fractured esteem of its residents. Planners say they hope the renovation will foster a sense of pride in the complex and, in doing so, help to reverse some of the social problems within its walls.

Phase 1 of the project — extensive renovation to individual buildings and repair of several walkways and roads — took about a year, with a cost of about $5 million; the entire project is estimated at $46 million.

Tanio said the initial renovation has already made an impact. "I see people sitting out in front of the apartments now with tables and chairs," she said. "They used to stay in the back."

Phase 2 already has started, with plans to demolish three buildings to make space for more parking.

Tanio said she appreciated the resident feedback solicited by Group 70 International, which served as a consultant on the project. She said she hopes residents will continue to be able to voice their concerns to Pacific Architects Incorporated, which is handling the Phase 2 renovations.