Sunset Beach Playground To Be Fixed in 2007?

OAHU'S NORTH SHORE (KHNL) - North Shore parents are pushing the city to fix a broken playground. It's at Sunset Beach Elementary School and it's the only one for North Shore children.

Sophia Beschen, a parent of two young children, and her friends play with their children at Sunset Beach Elementary School. "After my kids are finished from school we usually bring them here and play, or even on the weekends, and let them play with all their friends."

But they can only go on the grass. Their favorite- and only- playground has been closed for several months. "All the rusted areas are really dangerous and sharp. The floor is in bad condition. As you can see there are holes all over the floor. The monkey bars are loose and any kid more than 60 pounds can break it."

Beschen's seen children get hurt here. She points to an area now boarded up with wood. "That glass broke and one of the kids got really injured and the whole floor was full of blood. That's not good for kids."

Honolulu City spokesman Bill Brennan tells KHNL, "We do have a current contract to lay out new play courts and address a drainage problem at this park. I'm told the Department of Parks and Recreation recently said they intend to remove the heavily damaged play apparatus and to proceed on that basis with our project. " He says it hopes to do that this year.

Brennan says the city has been aware of the problem for years. Brennan details the history of this project. "The Design and Construction department says in fiscal year 2002, the North Shore Vision Team (a group of citizens that received money under the previous administration) allocated $170,000 for the Sunset Beach Neighborhood Park to make improvements to the ballfield and irrigation system and to address an existing play apparatus that was damaged. Within the $170,000, there was $5000 for equipment, and that was intended to be used for the repair. At some point, it was agreed the funds would be used to re-do the tennis courts instead. Ultimately, no work was ever done on the equipment, as an acceptable fee could not be negotiated with the selected design consultant, and the funds lapsed.

Parents are excited about that. "It's very convenient for all the residents of the area. The only park we have is this one," smiles Beschen, whose children are 6 and 1 year old.