HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Esther Kiaaina said the price to demolish the Haiku Stairs has gone up to $1.3 million. Kiaaina said this comes from an updated assessment of the needs for removal.
In September, the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed off on $1 million to remove Stairway to Heaven. Councilmember Kiaaina said the $1 million was only meant to be a marker and planning and permitting are already underway. She added that the removal of the stairs is expected to begin next year.
“Think about what they’re trying to do here,” said Sean Pager of Friends of Haiku Stairs. “The City is trying to tear off an 80-year-old structure that’s bolted down to the mountain that rises 2,300 feet vertical over 2.2 miles of metal and that’s an incredibly monumental task.”
Some residents are concerned taxpayers will end up handing over a hefty price. The money to remove Haiku Stairs is up for discussion again in Budget Bill 14.
“It’s going to only increase as we know by the growth of Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation we also can imagine how much it would cost to really take out the stairs,” said Ernest Shih, an Oahu resident.
Friends of Haiku Stairs will be going to the City Council with a new proposal for managed access.
“We would provide a public access that would provide parking well away from residential neighborhoods because we understand there are serious concerns with trespassing and disturbances for homeowners,” said Pager.
However, Kiaaina said the removal is the only solution to reduce disturbances in neighborhoods and increase public safety. She stated this would also mitigate legal issues that have plagued the City.
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The Budget Bill passed the second reading Wednesday and will be heard again on Monday.