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Saturday, March 10, 2001



City & County of Honolulu

City vision team
hopes to turn land in
Moiliili near UH
into minipark


By Rosemarie Bernardo
Star-Bulletin

The city's vision team has proposed a minipark near Kalo Place, close to the makai boundary of the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus.

Last week, Councilman Andy Mirikitani introduced legislation to the City Council to condemn the land owned by Kamehameha Schools. A hearing has yet to be scheduled with the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The councilman initiated the project when Kamehameha Schools' zoning exemptions of a 21-story, 290-unit building were opposed by the City Council in 1998.


PUBLIC INPUT WELCOME

Public comments regarding the park can be sent via email to Gregory Hee of the city Design and Construction Department at dhghee@co.honolulu.hi.us or mail to:
City and County of Honolulu, Department of Design and Construction, 650 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96813
Deadline for public comments is March 27.


The Kalo Place Mini Park project is proposed for a one-acre vacant parcel at the former site of the two propane gas spheres at Varsity Avenue and Kalo Place.

The city's proposal is to have a park with landscaped trees, grass-covered mounds, benches, picnic tables and a playground.

Fencing and security lights is expected to be installed in the park to deter night activity in the park.

In 1999, Mirikitani secured a $1.2 million budget appropriation for the minipark.

"The urban communities are the most densely populated areas in Oahu with the highest number of families living in condominiums and high rises," Mirikitani said.

There is a critical need for more open park space to revitalize these urban center communities, he said.

Moiliili also is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Honolulu where there is a great need for revitalization.

It has one of the highest concentration of senior citizens in Honolulu and is one of the oldest Japanese-American communities on Oahu, Mirikitani said.

David Chun, planning and zoning chairman of the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board, has supported the park proposal since its inception. About 200 signatures from Moiliili residents have supported the vision of a park nearby.

"Our density is so tremendous and yet for our keiki and kupuna, there's little space where they can walk safely to," said Chun.

They need a place where they can walk in two minutes, he said. The nearest park is Old Stadium Park, about three blocks away.

Since the city's vision team was created, Kalo Place Mini Park was one of the priorities on their agenda to revitalize Moiliili, said Tom Heinrich, chairman of the Manoa Neighborhood Board.

Chun said, "Apartments are maxed out with concrete." People need a place to go to allow them to take a breath of fresh air, he added.

"We need parks so that neighbors in densely populated neighborhoods can go out and hibachi together," Chun said.

"Without green space in our community, we're just increasing the potential of more social problems," he said.

Moiliili is a working class district. Most residents have two jobs and work odd shifts, said Chun.

Having a park in the neighborhood will create stability and identity, he said.

Construction is expected to begin in the latter part of this year.



City & County of Honolulu



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