Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 24, 2005

Ala Wai park to get new courts

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Ala Wai Neighborhood Park will get new basketball and volleyball courts in a project expected to be completed by early January.

Jeff Widener | The Honolulu Advertiser


The city has started a six-month, $306,000 capital improvement project to rebuild the basketball and volleyball courts at Ala Wai Neighborhood Park.

The general contractor, Road Builders Corp., is installing a screen to shield residents and park users from dust at the busy park.

The project, expected to be completed by early January, will include new lighting, handicapped accessible walkways, a perimeter chain-link fence and topsoil and grass.

The old courts are expected to be demolished starting tomorrow.

But some residents say no public meetings were held to detail the project and that there isn't even a sign for the work at the construction site.

Georgette Wagner, who lives in the Ala Wai Plaza next to the park, said residents were left in the dark about what was going on, and had to ask park employees or construction workers to get information.

"We had no idea what was going to happen," Wagner said.

City Design and Construction Director Wayne Hashiro said if a project costs less than $500,000, the city doesn't usually put up signs unless directed to by the mayor's office.

Ron Lockwood, chairman of the McCully/Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Board, said he has received calls from several residents asking about the project.

Lockwood said the city has been talking about doing the work for at least a decade and it has been postponed for years. He said the courts are in desperate need of improvement and he's happy the project is finally moving forward.

Wagner said the little community park is always busy with martial arts groups, a senior baseball league and children fishing in the nearby drainage canal. The park has an active canoe halau next to the Ala Wai Canal, a children's play apparatus and is frequented by Micronesian immigrants in the afternoons.

"There is a lot of activity plus there is the bike path, which is also a walking path used by a lot of people," she said. "It's really quite active and well used. It's fun to see all these people having a good time and making use of the park."

Construction crews have cordoned off a monkeypod tree in the park to make sure it is protected. But two small Madagascar olive trees will be removed when the courts are reconfigured in the park and will not not be replaced or replanted, according to Bob Loy, director of environmental programs for the Outdoor Circle.

"The Outdoor Circle believes trees are a community resource and are essential to our parks," Loy said. "It should be city policy that whenever it removes a tree, it should replace it, either at the same location or at some other appropriate place in the city."

City spokesman Bill Brennan said more trees may be added after the project has been completed.

"Those two olive trees are too close to the court and their canopy would hang over the court," Brennan said. "The contractor has been asked to take extra precautions so as not to inflict damage to the root system of the monkeypod."

The single coconut tree in the work area will remain, he said.