State apologizes for lack of communication over Kailua landscape project

Some Kailua residents are upset about a state landscaping project they were never told about.

The state chopped down a bunch of trees on a heavily used road.

Earlier this summer, trees lined the median on Mokapu Boulevard. But a few weeks ago…

“Came home one day and the median strip was bald. Nothing there,” Kailua resident Janet Boomla said.

Now, there’s nothing there except some piles of dirt where trees used to be.

State Rep. Cynthia Thielen said her office was flooded with calls from curious and angry residents. So, she contacted the state.

“We got a hold of the Department of Transportation and said, ‘What are you doing?’ And they said, ‘Well 10 years ago, we told The Outdoor Circle we were going to do something here,’” Rep. Thielen said.

The Outdoor Circle confirmed they met with the DOT years back. They were told of plans then, but not recently.

“The biggest problem you’re having with this is the lack of communication, the lack of recent communication?” KHON2 asked.

“Absolutely and we have a wonderful watchdog group, The Outdoor Circle. They had no notice. We have a neighborhood board that’s very active. No notice to them,” Rep. Thielen said.

The state says some of the trees were diseased and had to be removed. But they do plan to plant native palm trees and they also plan to install an irrigation system.

The DOT will plant 26 trees including rainbow shower trees and monkeypods.

“If they’re going to dig up the messy grass and the weeds and resod, which is what they tell me they’re going to do, and retree, I’m fine with that,” Kailua resident Jim Sylvester said.

The state said the landscape design was completed in Dec. 2004 and has remained unchanged. The project was later incorporated into a large resurfacing project in the area that was advertised for construction in Dec. 2011.

Some believe that’s not good enough.

“Come on Department of Transportation. Talk to the community,” one person said.

The DOT says they apologize and will work on doing a better job of informing the community in the future.

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