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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, June 17, 2001

East Honolulu signs still in works

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Bureau

HAWAI'I KAI — Signs promised since 1999 should be up at the entrance to two East Honolulu communities by the end of the year, the city says.

It was the area's vision team that made it a priority to acquire signs identifying Hawai'i Kai and 'Aina Haina. The plan was approved as part of the city's vision team process.

Two years later, the champions of the signs still wait.

This is very frustrating to residents like Murray Luther, who every month reminds the city at community meetings that the Hawai'i Kai sign has not been built.

The designs are complete. The contract has been awarded. An agreement has been signed between the city and the Hawai'i Kai Marina Association for the land. And the money has been allocated.

"I think it's a classic example of political shenanigans," said Luther. "The reason for the sign is to get back something we had years ago."

Cynthia Bond, the city's East Honolulu vision team coordinator, did not respond to a request for comment.

Luther, a community activist, rounded up support in the early 1990s to build a sign and place flagpoles on the empty lot across from Roy's Restaurant on Keahole Street. But the Kalaniana'ole Highway widening project bulldozed the sign.

Since the highway project was completed in 1995, Luther has been trying to get a new sign built.

"A sign will give Hawai'i Kai a sense of place," he said. "Hawai'i Kai is the mother of all these other areas out here."

When the sign is finally installed, it will be at the 'ewa mauka corner of Hawai'i Kai Drive and Kalaniana'ole Highway.

A similar sign will be placed at East Hind Drive and the highway.

The 'Aina Haina sign has met with obstacles because the city wants to install irrigation and landscaping, which the community believes is unnecessary.

The community is working with city engineers to keep the project in focus and costs down, said Art Mori, a member of the 'Aina Haina Community Association.

From 1999 vision team money, the city set aside $670,000 for both signs. The city allocated more money than necessary because it anticipated the need to purchase land.