Preparations for a maintenance project at Thomas Square began Monday, Dec. 12, with the closure of portions of the park.
The park is expected to be fully closed within the next two weeks, but sidewalks surrounding the park will remain open.
Construction barriers are being installed along the exterior of the park. No permits will be granted during the six-month closure.
The maintenance project includes the removal of the mock orange hedge, grading, a new irrigation system, pruning of the Indian Banyans located at the center of the park, removal of unhealthy trees, and replacement of grass throughout the entire lawn.
The contract was awarded to Ideal Construction, Inc. at a cost of $1.18 million. Work hours are from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
A more comprehensive restoration project for Thomas Square is currently undergoing an environmental assessment before moving forward. The city hopes to complete this effort before the 175th anniversary of the restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom, or La Ho‘iho‘i Ea, on July 31, 2018.
The renovations are all part of a short term plan, but City Council member Ann Kobayashi says other enhancements like a performance stage and a small concession stand could be in the works, too. Two million dollars was budgeted for those added features to Thomas Square.
Kobayashi says the money won’t be used until a decision is made to potentially transfer the park to the city’s Department of Enterprise Services. It’s a move that has caused some concern with her constituents, who feel Thomas Square will eventually become too commercialized.
“The more housing we have, the more apartments, people need a place to walk around, children need a place to run around, so it’s very important to have that park,” she said.
Some visitors at the park Sunday told us they’re disappointed that they’ll have to go somewhere else in the meantime.
Work at Thomas Square is scheduled to finish mid-2017.