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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2006

Problems keep light poles down

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Columnist

Q. Why have the light poles that illuminate the Ala Wai Community Park baseball field been down for over a year now? Without them, there can be no night baseball games. There's been no sign of repairs for over a year. What's the problem?

A. The city Department of Design and Construction said that the first pole was taken down more than a year ago when it was reported swaying and therefore an emergency. Department Director Eugene Lee said an inspection revealed that one of the four bolts attaching the pole to the foundation had cracked through.

Lee said this project has been plagued with problems, some straightforward and some bureaucratic. Because the shaky poles posed a safety hazard, the work to remove them could be done quickly. But Lee said once the poles came down, the emergency ceased to exist and the project bogged down. By law, Lee said the construction fix had to go out for bid to replace the defective foundations. That meant the city had to go through the procurement process, which he said takes eight to 12 months.

The construction contract is being finalized, he said, and he expects the work to begin in the spring. But he's not sure of a completion date because some of the materials are manufactured on the Mainland, and shipping will add to the already long delay.

Q. Where does the public property line end and the private property begin at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel beachfront? Years ago, there was a single row of chaise lounges, then one or two rows. Now there are three lines of lounges cordoned off on approximately 30 feet of the beach. Is this legal or just the hotel's way of accommodating their guests?

A. It turns out to be more complicated than it looks, according to state Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward, because it is not immediately clear who owns that beachfront land by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

"We're investigating where the property boundary is and will be conducting a survey to ascertain the boundary," Ward said. But she could not say how long the survey might take. It involves a review of a 1928 land agreement. I'll report back when I learn more.


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