Leeward Coast comfort stations get cleaned up as renovations continue
Mayor Mufi Hannemann is targeting city bathrooms along the Leeward Coast for cleanup and rehabilitation as his administration prepares for a major renovation of area parks beginning next week.
"This is a major area of concern. Many residents have said this is almost as important as having access to the beach or having areas that they can have a picnic or camp," the mayor said. "They want us to focus on comfort stations."
Hannemann's announcement comes after this past weekend's cleanup of several Leeward Coast parks, particularly Pokai Bay Park. About 375 volunteers hauled away more than 11 tons of trash at Pokai.
The city also is getting ready for a $350,000 renovation of Waianae District Park, which starts Monday. The work, which will take a couple of months to complete, will include repairs to the park's multipurpose center, gymnasium and outdoor play courts.
Hannemann said the city is on track to renovate beach parks where there is a heavy concentration of homeless people living. The city, he said, is working with the state to make sure the homeless will be sheltered in alternate locations.
In the meantime, he said, city crews are busy rehabilitating park bathrooms like the one at Pokai Bay.
"If you go there today, especially that comfort station, it looks a lot different than what it did prior to the cleanup. There's a major paint job, we did a major flushing through of some of the debris and it smells a lot better also," he said. "We want to make sure that these things continue to be maintained."
Deputy Parks Director Dana Takahara-Dias said the department has already done successful comfort station renovations across the island using city workers and working within its current budget.
"We are going to use our in-house crews to make sure that we get to these comfort stations, which entails fixtures, painting, the lighting," Takahara-Dias said. "We will follow that model as well."
Hannemann said the community can also help the city with upkeep of these renovated comfort stations and parks.
"We can go in there and clean it up, but I want to make sure there's a maintenance partner in place," Hannemann said.
For example, the 300-member Na Keiki O Ka Moi Canoe Club and the Pokai Bay Beach Civilian Patrol have pledged to help maintain Pokai Bay park, he said.
"Part of what this administration has been emphasizing from the beginning is that we need ongoing maintenance of our facilities of any project that the city undertakes," Hannemann said.