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Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Kapiolani Park
archery safety falls short
of mark, critics say

By Pat Gee

Tito Berinobis, a regular player at the Diamond Head Tennis Center, won't play on a certain court nearest the adjacent archery range because he's afraid he'll be hit by an arrow.

He was 10 feet away from an arrow that flew over the top of the fence about a year ago at the Kapiolani Park site, and doesn't want to put himself into that proximity again.

"It's dangerous. I don't play there anymore unless first I look to see if anyone's shooting arrows," said Berinobis, who thinks the range should be enclosed.

"It was scary. You never know what could happen," he added.

The Diamond Head/Kapahulu/ St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board is questioning the adequacy of proposed safety measures to be implemented by the city that were recently promised by Mayor Jeremy Harris.

In late November, the mayor met with his planning staff and members of The Archery Coalition to discuss how the archery range could be made safer instead of closing the facility altogether.

Michelle Matson, chairwoman of the neighborhood board's Planning and Land Use Committee, has raised several objections to the safety measures, which would include fencing off the archery range and installing netting to prevent stray arrows from flying into the tennis court and picnic areas.

"What if they shoot an arrow high over the fence? Arrows can go over a fence even 18 feet high," she said. Also, the manufacturer of the polyester "archery backstop netting" being proposed for installation specifically warns, "it should never be used to protect people or property," and "not recommended for carbon arrows," Matson said. The netting is manufactured by BCY Inc. Fibers Division in Connecticut.

Longtime tennis instructor Doris Hakman, who frequents the Diamond Head facility, also said she was on the same "Court 8" that Berinobis referred to when an arrow came through the back fence a few years ago. The arrow had "spent" all its velocity by then and just fell to the ground, she said.

"I suggest they put netting over the tennis backdrop so the arrows don't go through," Hakman said.

Matson also objects to the proposed construction of a new dojo for the Japanese-style archery building, used by the Kyudo Kai club members, because it is "using public money to build a facility for an exclusive group."

"Will the archery area also be expanded for other ethnicities, such as Native American tribes? Is this an exclusive use of public trust land?" are among the questions she plans to ask The Archery Coalition and city officials at the next board meeting in January.

Matson said input from users of the tennis courts and picnic grounds should be obtained before any improvements are made.

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