City partners with community group to make Waikiki park a reality

City partners with community group to make Waikiki park a reality
Published: Jul. 19, 2016 at 8:11 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 19, 2016 at 9:29 PM HST
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(Image: City of Honolulu)
(Image: City of Honolulu)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A vacant lot in Waikiki will converted into a vibrant city park, complete with lighted walkways and benches, thanks to a partnership with Rotary Club of Honolulu.

The Aloha Drive lot, which sits on less than an acre of land, had previously been used as a staging area for construction equipment.

Groundbreaking for the project will begin next summer, and is expected to wrap up by late 2017. The Rotary Club of Honolulu will undertake construction, donating some $440,000 to make the park a reality.

The prospect of a park in his community gave Lewis Hitchcock reason to smile Tuesday.

"I've got a 10-year-old and 16-year-old," he said. "The 10-year old being stuck in a concrete box, which is what a condo is, it's not really a life."

The park will feature trees, benches, and design features aimed at highlighting the history of Waikiki and the Rotary Club. 

"Meditation, sit, enjoy, walk," said David Benson, of the Rotary Club of Honolulu. "We can have string quartets out here. We can have all kinds of things happening here."

There will also be more pragmatic elements.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the park will have a fence and will be closed at night.

The parcel has an estimated value of $8 million. Caldwell said resisting the temptation to sell or develop the land was in the best interest for people in the community. 

People like Hitchcock, who said Tuesday with a smile, "I'm more happy about this than anyone around here."

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