Questions surround city’s cost estimate to fix Kailua fountain

Local News

Some are calling into question the city’s price tag to repair a Windward Oahu landmark.

KHON2 first told you about the fountain at Kailua’s Pohakupu Mini Park back in September.

The fountain, along with the land it sits on, was donated to the city by the Castle Foundation more than a half-century ago.

But in recent years the fountain has gone from streaming to stagnant.

When we asked the city how much it would cost to restore the fountain, it told us $425,000.

Following up, we’re finding contractors and even lawmakers are questioning that six-figure sum.

The fountain was originally built by Harold Castle as a tribute to his mother, and has long served as a welcome of sorts for folks entering Kailua town.

But it has sat idle for nearly two years.

“It’s frustrating more for the community, and it’s the community who I feel for in this fountain not being on,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, who represents the area.

In September, the city told us the fountain would need to be knocked down to the foundation and completely rebuilt at a cost of $425,000.

After our report aired, we heard from several contractors who said the price was considerably over-inflated.

One local contractor who’s built hundreds of pools and dozens of fountains at both private homes and major resorts including the fountain at Hilton Hawaiian Village, says after inspecting the Kailua fountain, he sees no reason why it needs to be demolished.

He said he could completely refurbish the structure for about $125,000 or do a complete demo and rebuild for about $250,000.

So we reached out to the city again, asking how they arrived at their number.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation sent the following statement: “The $425,000 figure is a preliminary estimate for budgeting purposes only. A thorough inspection of the site will need to be carried out and engineering plans drawn up before a final cost estimate determined.”

Anderson says he met personally with the mayor after our first report aired, and met with the managing director shortly after that to ask about the fountain, and the cost to bring it back to life.

“I think that’s a rather high member and I’m interested to know where the administration got that from,” Anderson said. “We still don’t have a definitive number from the administration or how they arrived at earlier figure that was thrown out… I think that’s why the average citizen gets upset with government. Because of situations just like that.”

For Anderson, the fountain is something that he not only takes personally, but has taken a personal interest in.

A few years back he worked with the Wounded Warriors to cleanup and repaint the fountain.

“What I’m asking as the area councilman is how we arrived at the figure $425,000 to turn this fountain back on. That’s one. Number two, is that an accurate figure? And three, can we possibly look at getting some community dollars involved and bring those costs down?” Anderson said. “First and foremost, I need the first two questions answered by the city administration and as of today with you, I’m still waiting for answers to those two questions.”

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