Question: What is happening at Kakaako Waterfront Park and Kewalo Basin Park? They were well-maintained for a while and now they are full of weeds and graffiti. Park benches are missing and not replaced for months. The state is supposed to be maintaining them, but if it can't do the job right, maybe maintenance should be turned over to the city. The city seems able to maintain Ala Moana Park. The state is pushing plans for Kakaako, but maybe it should spend money on maintaining what is already built, instead of building new things there.
Vandals, thorny weeds
Answer: Vandals and "kukus" - the thorny weeds that plague the expansive Kakaako park - are a definite problem, acknowledged Jan Yokota, executive director of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.
Maintenance at both parks is handled mostly by the Parks Division under the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. But because the HCDA built the parks, it is ultimately responsible.
Both parks "are several years old and there have to be major repair and maintenance activities to keep them in proper condition," Yokota acknowledged. "The Parks Division doesn't have that kind of funding."
"We're aware of most of the concerns ... and we're trying to set up a major repair and maintenance program" by tapping into HCDA funds, Yokota said. "We do have extra security at both parks, but as with other parks, there always is vandalism that occurs."
Regarding the missing benches at Kewalo Basin Park, "I just learned about it and we will try to put something back," Yokota said last week.
Vandals damaged the concrete benches and they were removed by the state Department of Transportation's Harbors Division. That area is jointly managed by the DOT and Parks Division because of the harbor there.
At the Kakaako park, workers try to get rid of any graffiti as soon as it appears, Yokota said, but the problem with kukus has been more difficult to resolve.
Past attempts to control the kukus by weeding have not worked, so Yokota has asked for special funds to begin a herbicide program.
Once that expected funding is approved, "we can start a program fairly quick," she said.
Because a herbicide is involved, special precautions have to be taken, including fencing off a particular area and spraying on a relatively still day, she said. Only a section of the park will be closed at any one time.
There has been talk over the years about transferring certain responsibilities to the city, such as with state parks and roads, but nothing has happened, Yokota said.
MahaloTo Officers B. Canada and R. Weitzel. Early evening, March 11, a car with two teen-age boys stalled eastbound on the H-1. Officer Canada stayed with them until their parents and a tow truck arrived and Officer Weitzel diagnosed the problem (worn timing belt). Their concern and aloha spirit is a fine example for our boys. - T.B.
MahaloTo Ernest, who helped us on Wednesday, March 17, when we ran out of gas at Kipapa Gulch. He was on his way home from work, but he picked us up, dropping my children off at school, then taking my husband and me to his house to pick up a gas can. He also let my husband use his cellular phone to call work. He then took us to the gas station and back to our car. Ernest, I wish there were more people like you! - Mary
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