City Council Urges Mayor to Stop Waimanalo Beach Park Project
Several City Council members are urging Mayor Kirk Caldwell to stop work on changes to the Waimanalo Bay Beach Park.
The city is building baseball fields, a playground, and more parking stalls for park goers.
The plan was met with heavy opposition by members of the community at a council committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Karin O’Mahony, a resident of Waimanalo for the last 10 years, says the city should keep up its existing facilities.
"More important than the 470 parking stall tourist and sports complex, we have basic needs to be addressed," said O'Mahony. "As you can see in the pictures I’ve provided and also on the wall over there, the existing fields, gym, and pavilion have not been properly maintained for decades. The gym roof still leaks. Trees and shrubs are growing from the roof."
Other community members supported the project, including Kenneth Ho, who is a long-time Waimanalo resident.
"A lot of guys here… a lot of people are saying no need, but hey, we need a new field because our keiki is growing up faster than we know," said Ho. "They’re running out of area in the parks already."
Some of the other issues that worry Waimanalo residents include protecting the endangered population of Hawaiian hoary bats, supplying proper water irrigation to the fields, and maintaining scared and historical land.
Council Chair Ikaika Anderson who originally supported the new park project has asked Mayor Caldwell to stop construction for now. Two other council members, Kymberly Pine and Heidi Tsuneyoshi, agree.
Caldwell, however, says he’s committed to the first phase of the project.
"I’ve told Council Chair Ikaika Anderson that we’ll take a step back and not proceed with the other phases," he said.
But the mayor says he wants to talk to the council about the cost of cancelling construction contracts that could amount to about $300,000.