Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the city Department of Parks and Recreation announced Wednesday several projects to improve Ala Moana Regional Park.
Changes will be made as part of the city’s overall master plan for the 119-acre beach park.
“We’re not talking about massive change, but we are talking about doing better,” Caldwell said. “This past spring, we met at McCoy Pavilion. We had 300 people show up very passionate about the people’s park and what they wanted to see done or not done.”
Officials say public feedback played a big role in formulating the city’s first steps.
“(The public said) don’t commercialize the park. We heard that loud and clear and we do not want to commercialize this park. We want to keep it as the people’s park,” Caldwell said.
- Website: OurAlaMoanaPark.com
In its initial community action plan, the city outlined nine key changes:
Hire more park staff.
Renovate, not replace, the comfort stations. To turn it into “a state-of-the-art facility that will allow people to go into a bathroom stall to change privately and not in a big room,” Caldwell said. “We spray off all the bad stuff, the white tiles that turn kind of yellowish are made white again. We put a microcoat on it that doesn’t allow things like urine to be absorbed into the pavement and into the walls… We’re removing graffiti. We’re repainting and returning to the bathroom to the state it was when it was first built.”
- Related Story: City explains how Ala Moana’s new unisex restrooms will work
Repair Magic Island’s exercise path. “This path, it’s rutted. It’s been dug up,” Caldwell said. “You see people use this path heavily… and we want to make it so it’s smooth and safe for people to walk on so they don’t trip. We’re going to mark it by each quarter of a mile so those who want to measure how many miles they’ve walked along this incredibly beautiful area.”
“I run here every almost every day. This is when we do our training during the week. It’s the best place,” said Waikiki resident Arnold Aguilar.
Irrigate the Great Lawn. The project will be done in two phases. “What can we do to make sure that brown grass turns green again by making sure the sprinkler heads are fixed. The ones that are broken are fixed and the ones that aren’t spraying properly are readjusted so they spray properly,” Caldwell said. “We want to make it on a comfortable soft green lawn.”
Fix rocky beach areas. “We’ve heard from a lot of people about the coral that’s popping up from the sand. This used to be a canal that went from Kewalo Basin to Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor before Magic Island was built and they basically dug out the coral and dumped it on the beach, and then they put sand on top the coral,” Caldwell said. “Natural erosion was moving it down here, taking the sand away so this is poking up… We’re gonna scrape the coral away. We’re going to move sand from this end of the beach down.” He added that the shift is a short-term fix with plans to replenish the entire beach.
Beautify the park. One focus would be along Ala Moana Boulevard. “I have to say on the makai side, it’s pretty desert-like. The grass is nonexistent. We have orange soil. There’s not many trees. It’s hot, so we’re going to plant a canopy of trees so when you drive down this boulevard, you got trees down the medial strip,” Caldwell said.
Build a new playground. The city would like input on where and what kind of playground to build.
Make the park safer, especially at night. “We’re gonna be increasing our patrols. We’re looking at perhaps getting a private security company that can come and patrol and just issue warnings, and we call the police if they’re trespassing when the park is closed,” Caldwell said. “We’re going to put better lighting, LED lighting, around our restroom facilities, around the L&L facility, so at night it is bright.”
“I’ve been here late at night and I would agree, its kind of sketchy. More lighting is probably a good idea,” said Honolulu resident Braxton Grizzard.Offer local favorites in concessions.
Additional public meetings will be held as the project develops over the next two years.