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StarBulletin.com

Charity must fix park after golf tourney


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POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009

Question: My son has soccer practice at Triangle Park (Fort Ruger Park), but about 25 percent of it is not usable because it was used for parking for the Sony Open. With all the money our city and state made from this event, who is responsible for repairing the grounds? It's bad enough that numerous sports teams and park utilizers were put out for a week, but is there no one to take care of the huge blemishes left behind?

Answer: It is the responsibility of the Friends of Hawaii Charities to restore the park to its original condition, said Lester Chang, director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

Triangle Park was one of four parks in the area—three city and one private—used to handle overflow parking during the recent golf tournament, he said.

Representatives of the nonprofit group have been working to restore the other parks and expect get to Triangle Park in the coming week, he said. Recent bad weather has slowed efforts.

The practice of allowing Sony Open to use the park, located at the intersection of Kahala Avenue and Diamond Head Road, for parking has been going on for years.

Because parking is limited in the area and it is “;very cognizant”; that the annual golf tournament is “;a big event for Hawaii in more ways than one,”; the Parks Department has worked “;very carefully”; with the nonprofit group regarding use of the park over the years, Chang said.

There are “;a lot of stipulations”; regarding use of the park, and the department has procedures to minimize damage. “;But whatever damage there is, they're supposed to fix it in an expeditious fashion,”; Chang said.

There is no charge to use the park other than putting down a maintenance deposit.

However, the Friends of Hawaii Charities have “;always given something back”; to the Parks Department through donations that go into a park fund, Chang said.

This time, “;they're looking at donating an X amount of money,”; which will be subject to the city Council's procedures and scrutiny, he said. That money “;does not go for repairs.”;

Q: Can you help us with the field and tennis court lights at Aiea ballpark, just below Aiea High School? The field lights have been out for about a month. We understand there are problems with the electrical system. The tennis court lights have been completely dark for several weeks. This makes the entire complex unusable to the residents as well as the various ball clubs. No one knows when the lights will be fixed.

  A: The lights, which went out because of recent electric power surges, were not easily reparable, said Parks Director Lester Chang.

However, once he learned how long they had been out, he ordered the repair process speeded up. The tennis court lights, requiring the services of an outside electrician, finally were repaired last week.

However, it will take a while longer—uncertain how long—before the ball-field lights will be on again because the transformer has to be completely replaced. A new one has been ordered but has to be shipped from the mainland, Chang said.

Meanwhile, early-morning walkers at the Ewa end of Ala Moana Park: You should no longer be walking in the dark. Chang said the lights were repaired shortly after we passed on your complaint.