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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Fort Street improvement plan approved

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Fort Street Mall will become a business improvement district under a bill now before Mayor Jeremy Harris.

The bill, approved by the City Council yesterday, will allow Fort Street Mall landowners to essentially tax themselves to pay for landscaping, security and maintenance improvements.

The private landowners plan to raise $505,000 for improvements.

City Councilman Jon Yoshimura, chairman of the Parks and Public Safety Committee, said creating the district is an example of the property owners putting their money where their mouths are by "dedicating money to provide security and maintenance of this area."

Councilman Duke Bainum, whose Waikiki district started a similar project last year, said it has worked very well in Waikiki and "security is greatly enhanced."

Also yesterday, the council passed a resolution in support of a separate 311 police phone line for nonemergencies as an alternative to the 911 emergency line. Police said it would cost $1 million to $5 million to launch and could be funded with surcharges to land and cellular phone lines. Verizon currently adds a 27-cent surcharge to each phone line for 911 service.

Another resolution passed yesterday will allow an affordable-housing project in Makiki to move forward. The Punahou Vista Apartments, an eight-story, 55-unit building, will be at 1566 Wilder Ave., on a site owned by the YWCA. While the project has raised concerns from residents in the past over traffic congestion in the busy Punahou and Wilder Street intersection, only one resident testified against the bill yesterday.