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It’s a park that’s been around for 170 years. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell hopes it will be around for at least another 170 years.
The future of Thomas Square was the topic of discussion during a community forum Monday night at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city, at Ward Avenue and King Street, there’s a 6.5-acre slice of green serenity.
It’s a park that’s been there since 1843 — a gathering place for the two-legged and four-legged alike.
Despite the peacefulness now, it hasn’t always been that way.
In 2011, “Occupy” protestors set up camp and were eventually kicked out by Honolulu Police.
Members of the “Occupy” movement were among those who showed up to a community forum Monday night to talk about the future of Thomas Square.
“I think great ideas can come out of a group like this to make this park live again,” Mayor Caldwell said.
Mayor Caldwell allocated $1 million in next year’s budget to fix up and improve Thomas Square.
Although that still needs to be approved by the City Council, he’s planning ahead and he shared some of his ideas.
“I’d like to see it become a culture and arts center with sculpture, native Hawaiian sculpture, other kinds of sculpture that rotate through the park. And perhaps we’d have a place where you can sit out and eat, perhaps patients at Straub could come and sit in the sun and get healthier,” Caldwell said.
So what do other people want?
“I don’t think the park should be used as a place of residence by anyone.”
“We don’t want shanty towns. This is Hawaii.”
“Restore the Hawaiian Kingdom.”
“It’s our greatest hope that Thomas Square remains pet friendly.”
“The mayor never talked to the neighborhood board about putting those planters up. And as far as I’m concerned, they should all be taken down. They’re basically there to get the ‘Occupy’ people out of the park.”
Other ideas include turning part of the park into a garden and creating a specific area where the homeless can live.
No decisions came out of the meeting.
It was really just a chance for Mayor Caldwell and City leaders to listen to ideas.
“This is not about any one person’s vision. It’s about all of us coming together,” Mayor Caldwell said.
There’s no specific timeline, but again,it’s part of next year’s budget proposal.
This is all part of the mayor’s plan to fix up City parks.