Some of Oahu’s public parks have undergone major renovations, but there’s still plenty of work ahead for the most popular one on the island.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city is on pace to reach its goal of refurbishing 24 public park restrooms and 16 playgrounds in the past year, but the work at Ala Moana Beach Park has just begun.
It’s been dubbed as the people’s park and the people who come here regularly admit that the place can use some fixing up.
“It’s aged, but I still think it’s beautiful, but we could probably take better care of it for the future,” said park user Maile Shaw.
The city laid out grand plans for the park after getting input from the public and revealed it to us six months ago.
Plans included a new sprinkler system to keep the grass green, replenishing the sand to keep the beach nicer, and fixing up the walking paths with markers that will let people know how much they’ve walked.
KHON2 spoke with Michele Nekota, the city’s director of parks and recreation, who says a lot of the work is still being put out to bid, so we won’t see improvements for another year or two.
At one point, the city wanted to paint a walking path blue, but that’s no longer going to happen. The city says the people have spoken and they just don’t want it to look like that.
“We’re actually just painting it more like a brick color, like a reddish brown color,” Nekota said, adding that it will still feature markers to show walkers their distance traveled.
Plans also include additional staff for security at night, and fixing up the bathrooms. The bathroom by Magic Island is now being renovated and should be done by the end of the month.
But as far as everything else, “it’s out to bid,” Nekota said. “I’m not exactly sure, hopefully in a couple of months we’ll know exactly the time frame on it… We’re probably looking at the next couple of years, a year to two years.”
Nekota says part of it still depends on whether the city council will approve the money to get the renovations done.
She adds that seven new groundskeepers have been hired and will start in a few days, which will help in keeping up with trimming the grass. Four more workers will also be added on to help keep the restrooms clean.
The city still wants input from the public on what other renovations should be done. Click here to voice your opinion and get more information on park plans.
The city responded Friday that the Department of Parks and Recreation completed renovation of the Magic Island restroom ahead of schedule and will be open for public use Saturday.
This is the restroom in Magic Island closest to the parking lot that had at one time been proposed for conversion into individual stalls that could be entered directly from the parking lot. A spokesman said “the security advantage of that design is that you know there is no one in your stall before you enter from the outside.”
Before-and-after renovation photos courtesy the City and County of Honolulu: