Complications delay park construction
Do you have any idea when the new park along the realigned Queen Street in Kakaako will be built? This is the narrow area mauka of Queen, about 500 feet Diamond Head of Kamakee Street. There is one artwork there and a lot of ugly asphalt.
Answer: A stone sculpture, draped in black canvas, has been standing near Queen and Waimanu streets for almost a year, awaiting unveiling in a more tranquil setting.
But it will be at least another year before work is expected to begin on a $900,000 2-acre park, which will flank the mauka and makai sides of the Queen Street extension.
Part of the delay was due to initial plans to continue the Queen Street Improvement Project between Kamakee Street and Ward Avenue, said Deepak Neupane, director of planning and development for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees Kakaako.
Under that plan, the contractor wanted to use the proposed park area as a construction base yard. The project ultimately was canceled, "so the land is available," he said.
However, the makai portion of the proposed park is being used as a base yard for the ongoing Ward Village Shops project, being developed by Victoria Ward Ltd.
Since the park would be on both sides of Queen Street, "we would like to construct it at the same time" to save costs, Neupane said.
The mystery sculpture, meanwhile, is by noted local-born stone sculptor Randall Shiroma.
Neupane said it was decided to place the sculpture on site, instead of storing it and risking damage in future moves.
"We decided that we had already done the plan and design for the park, so why not just put it there for now," he said.
There is a smaller upright stone also on the site. Neupane said that when the park is completed, there will be other smaller stones that will be part of Shiroma's "Ohana" artwork.
The planned park will be passive in nature, with picnic tables and open space but no comfort station.
Once completed, it will be dedicated to the city, Neupane said. The city Department of Parks and Recreation has been consulted on design and plantings, he said.
Previous reports said the park is primarily meant to serve people living and working in the area.
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