The Hawaii Kai welcome sign was recently completed, with an okina and readjustment to face west as well as east.

Hawaii Kai can finally
offer a proper welcome

First, the welcoming Hawaii Kai sign faced the wrong direction.

Then, there was the misspelling of the name.

And before being put out of its misery, the sign just cracked.

Yesterday, the sign marking the entrance to Hawaii Kai was removed by the city and replaced with one that city officials hope will be less controversial.

Councilman Charles Djou, who represents the East Honolulu community, said former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration dropped the ball on fixing the sign for good, and he credits Mayor Mufi Hannemann's administration with finding a solution and finishing the job.

Above, the Hawaii Kai sign had to be fixed because of the use of an apostrophe instead of an okina in June 2002.

Shortly after the sign was adjusted so that it could be viewed by people traveling on either side of the highway before its August 2002 dedication, the sign started to crack.

After a three-year delay, the completed sign was unveiled yesterday.

"I'm glad, and hopefully it will serve future administrations to leave the glamour projects alone," Djou said.

The original sign was completed in 2002 and was L-shaped, located on the town-bound side of the highway at the intersection of Kalanianaole Highway and Hawaii Kai Drive. The sign, however, was not visible to those heading into Hawaii Kai from town.

Also, instead of an okina, an apostrophe was mistakenly used for a Hawaiian word.

The sign was fixed -- at the architect's expense and not the city's -- just before its August 2002 dedication so that it could be viewed by people traveling on either side of the highway.

But shortly after, the sign started to crack.

Djou said the Harris administration failed to fix all the problems associated with the sign before Harris left office.

City spokesman Bill Brennan said part of the reason for the delay was an unwillingness by the previous administration to bring any further attention to the project.

Brennan said the new sign -- made up of three 12-inch-thick concrete sections -- weighs about 4,500 pounds, making it heftier and more solid than the old sign.

"The new one is solid concrete. The last one was hollow," Brennan said.

The first sign was nearly $105,000. The one yesterday was done for a little less than $25,000.

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