DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Proceeds from the Honolulu Family Festival will go to fix up Ala Moana Park. Above, a termite-eaten railing was taped off yesterday inside McCoy Pavilion. CLICK FOR LARGE
Benefit fest to aid Ala Moana Park projects
City officials cite positive community feedback after a major park cleanup
Ala Moana Regional Park could be getting a financial boost for maintenance and renovation work to further spruce up the park a year after a major facelift.
For the second year, Honolulu 100 will host the Honolulu Family Festival on Magic Island. The nonprofit group, originally organized to plan Honolulu's centennial celebration last year, plans to donate proceeds from this year's festival to finance renovation projects for the park.
» Who: Honolulu 100 in cooperation with the city.
» What: Honolulu Family Festival that will includes E.K. Fernandez rides, food and entertainment including a stunt dog show, high-dive act and puppet show.
» Where: Magic Island
» When: March 29-April 1
» Why: Proceeds will be donated to the city to help finance renovation projects for Ala Moana Park that could include: more park benches, replacing picnic tables, completing electrical projects at McCoy Pavilion, acquiring a new truck to collect trash and replacing outdoor showers.
» Information: Visit the festival Web site at HonoluluFamily-Festival.com or call 275-3001.
"This is a good chance to call attention to the fact the park does need to be improved, to keep it as the crown jewel of the city parks," said Linda Wong, Honolulu 100 chairwoman, in the announcement before Ala Wai Elementary School students at Magic Island.
The event, which will include entertainment, food and E.K. Fernandez rides, will be held March 29 to April 1.
The city undertook a major renovation of the park last year that included closing the park at night from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., which is now permanent.
The night closure resulted in the homeless people living at the park to be shooed away.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration was criticized for the move.
"I think that was the right decision to make, and I think the proof in the pudding is that people acknowledged and thanked the city a hundred times over for the cleanup effort that we've done -- it's opened up the park, it's safer, it's cleaner, families are coming back and using the park," Hannemann said yesterday.
"The park has transformed," said city Parks Director Lester Chang. "It is important that we sustain that. How is it now? I'm just looking at it now and I think we're very proud of the results, what has transpired at this park."
When asked if the homeless have tried to move back to the park at night, Chang responded, "Well, I wouldn't say they don't try. ... But again with (police) patrols and community giving us feedback -- I can tell you there's a lot of people in the community that are very observant and will report it real quickly."
The renovation projects being considered for the festival funding is a continuation of last year's efforts.
"We can't just do it one time," said the mayor, who added that the funding will be used only for Ala Moana and no other park.
City officials did not have an estimate on the cost of the projects.
"We want to get to the projects that will most benefit everybody," Chang said. "The proceeds of this will give us an opportunity to do things that we aren't able to get to (financially) right now."
Hannemann said the success of last year's festival was the reason to keep it going this year. Wong said 60,000 people attended last year's event, although it was postponed because of the weeks-long rain that socked the state.
"We're just hoping that it's going to be good weather -- we're just positive," Wong said.