Deadline looms for public comment on 2nd Draft EIS of Ala Moana Regional Park improvement plan

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For several years the city has wanted to improve Ala Moana Regional Park and Magic Island, and officials have a plan that’s being reviewed in an Environmental Impact Statement. 

Some like the proposed changes, but others do not. Officials are still seeking public comment, but you’ll need to act fast. 

Today those plans are in a 2nd Draft Environmental Impact Statement and appendices. Lookup the Environmental Notice. The deadline to submit written testimony for that is Monday, March 25, 2019. There’s also a chance to voice your opinion at a city parks committee meeting Monday morning at 9.  

Some of the proposed action of the project include: 
-adding a dog park near Kewalo basin
-build a playground
-and reconfigure parking on the mauka side of Ala Moana Park Drive to add more stalls

In the past, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s plan included taking away the parking on the makai side and widening the promenade, which did not sit well with many of the regular park users. The City Council put a provision in a bill that passed saying the money approved for the improvements cannot be used for those two changes. Read the story here

The City Council also enacted an ordinance, Ordinance 18-46, that would not allow widening of existing walkways or reduction of the grassy areas on the makai side of Ala Moana Park Drive. 

Sharlene Chun-Lum is part of a group called “Save Ala Moana Beach Park Hui” and says she’s glad the people’s voices were heard back then. She said it started in the city parks committee. 

“They have the power as the committee on parks to make some recommendations to the rest of the city council and last year we saw that happen under Chair Kobayashi who was the chair of that committee,” said Chun-Lum. 

That’s why she sees the value in sharing their opinions once again in front of a new park committee chair — Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi. Monday’s agenda will include another round of discussions about the proposed improvements of Ala Moana Regional Park. Chun-Lum says this might be easier than submitting comments for the 2nd Draft EIS. 

“In the case of the 2nd Draft EIS, it’s more of a formal letter that you have to submit that refers back to the document which itself is 885 pages long,” said Chun-Lee, “so it’s a lot harder for people to actually express their viewers. So we are hoping that if people want to express something, they can either write their testimony into the City Council.”

Councilwoman Tsuneyoshi tells us she’s heard the concerns from the public about the proposed improvements and wants to extend the deadline to submit comment for the 2nd Draft EIS. 

“The 2nd Draft EIS is over 800 pages long, so that’s a lot of information to get through. I think the public needs more time to comment,” said Councilwoman Tsuneyoshi. “As public comment ends tomorrow (Monday, March 25, 2019) for the 2nd Draft EIS, we are going to be asking for an extension of that deadline and also including  comments that we hear tomorrow (Monday, March 25, 2019) counted into the 2nd Draft EIS.”

Chun-Lum says if you’re going to submit a written letter in response to the 2nd Draft EIS, you’ll need to be specific. That means you should add page and section numbers from the report that you are addressing. Just one way to make sure your voice gets heard.
 

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