Chinatown park open following renovations
Hannemann views the site as vital to area arts and culture
Chinatown Gateway Park reopened yesterday after a three-month renovation, which the mayor hailed as a big step toward making the area "a leading arts and cultural center."
Work on the park included removing three banyan trees whose roots were damaging a rock sculpture and pond.
"Standing here now, I think we can all agree that this is a wonderful oasis amid the concrete of downtown, and we intend to keep it that way," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said yesterday at a news conference in the park.
"Our commitment to you is to make Chinatown a leading arts and cultural center in the world. The transformation of this park is a key step to that."
He also announced plans to erect a memorial at the park to Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese revolutionary leader who was educated in Hawaii and is known as the father of modern China.
Details on the memorial have not been finalized, but Hannemann said it will be funded by the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation.
Besides removing the banyan trees, the city also repaired fake rocks at the park damaged by roots, raised low spots around the edge of the pond, built "planting pockets" to stop people from climbing on the rocks and planted a Hong Kong orchid tree in the middle of the pond.
The project cost about $40,000.
Hannemann said the park, at Hotel and Bethel streets, will be maintained by the city along with three of the park's neighbors: Hawaii Theatre, Plumbers and Fitters Union Local 675 and Indigo Restaurant.