Trees are already being cleared at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, also known as Sherwoods along Kalanianaole Highway.
It’s all part of the new Waimanalo Bay Beach Park master plan. The 75 acre project includes walking paths, new camping areas and a children’s play structure.
It also designates 17 acres of land for sports recreation fields– a multi purpose field, a baseball field and a softball/ little league field.
City councilman Ikaika Anderson has been working on this project since 2007.
“This project is important because it provides our keiki with much needed ball field space for organizational as well as recreational sports,” Anderson said.
Waimanalo already has the field at the beach park and Albert H. Azevedo field at Waimanalo District Park. But Anderson said Azevedo field continues to have problems.
“We have consistent challenges at Waimanalo District Park Azevedo field always cracking. And those cracks are so large that they could potentially swallow the leg of an adult so you could imagine what those cracks would do the leg of a kid,” Anderson explained.
“Why not Malama what we have before putting so many millions of dollars into this master plan,” Kukana Kama-Toth said. Kama-Toth is a member of the Waimanalo neighborhood board and was raised in the area.
“I don’t see why they should build another multi-purpose sports field there next to the beach. I think it’s a waste of money, waste of the city tax payers dollars. Fix this one that’s here already. I mean this is a beautiful park,” David Kalai said. Kalai lives in Waimanalo and goes to Azevedo field all the time.
The city approved the Waimanalo Bay Beach Park master plan in 2012. It recently set aside $1.4 million to begin work on the $32 million project.
“It will take some time before we build all of (the plan) out. And of course that’s in a perfect world. But first we’re focusing on the ball fields, the restroom facilities, known as the comfort stations, and the water areas as well as the parking areas,” Anderson said.
Waimanalo resident Jody Green is familiar with the plan.
“If you look at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park master plan you can see how extensive it is including a pavilion, walking trails more campsites which is good. More bathrooms and the existing ones may be renovated, that’s a good part of the plan,” Green said.
But she’s not sold on all of it.
“In 2012, it may have been a good idea and may have been needed, but with the field at the District Park not being able to be used and not rectified, that’s just sitting there. They didn’t do that right. So what’s to say they’re going to do this right? And is it really needed at this time?” Green said.
Residents are also concerned about how building more fields will impact traffic.
“To have this additional strain on our community for soccer games, baseball games, softball games etc., at this new place that they are trying to create from scratch. It’s going to be a heavy impact on our community and I don’t know if it’s going to impact in a positive way or more so a negative way,” Kama-Toth said.
Work on the project is expected to be completed by spring 2020.