Volunteers gain access
to UH Lyon Arboretum
A portion of Lyon Arboretum is expected to be re-opened to a limited number of volunteers this month, University of Hawaii officials said yesterday.
But no decision has been made on a timetable for allowing public access. The university closed Lyon Arboretum to the public in late August because of health and safety concerns.
Last month, consultants Nagamine Okawa Engineers Inc. reviewed the safety of five buildings on the property. Base on the preliminary report, the university decided that by restricting access to some areas and instituting safety measures in other areas, parts of the arboretum will be safe enough for volunteers to return to the facility in the next few weeks.
UH officials are scheduled to make a presentation to the Manoa Neighborhood Board tonight about the facility's future.
The structural survey showed that the Children's Learning Center is in good condition. But other structures were rated "fair" to "poor" and in need of substantial repair. The university is asking for about $3 million from the Governor's Office and the state Legislature for repairs at the Lyon Arboretum.
"We will work out the details of resuming volunteer activities over the next couple of weeks, and expect that some limited access will be allowed no later than Nov. 1," UH-Manoa Chancellor Peter Englert said. "There are other measures that need to be taken to restore and maintain a safe environment there -- such as cutting down trees that are in danger of falling, and providing portable toilets to replace the less-than-adequate cesspool system that we have relied on for too long."
Englert also appointed Waikiki Aquarium Director Andrew Rossiter to head a task group that will undertake a review of the Lyon Arboretum's mission to make sure it is in concert with the university's core missions of education and research.
Task group membership is being solicited from a broadly based group of community organizations, including the Manoa Neighborhood Board, the Outdoor Circle, and the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii. In-house groups such as the Lyon Arboretum Association will also participate on the task group.