Residents voice concerns about city's latest plan for Ala Moana Park
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city of Honolulu's master plan for Ala Moana Regional Park has been years in the making, but portions of the plan are leaving some longtime park users feeling that their voices haven't been heard.
The group Malama Moana tried to weigh in on Thursday night at a town hall meeting at the park, just a week before a deadline for public comment on a drafted environmental impact statement.
The most prominent complaint about the 904-page draft EIS was the proposed promenade.
"It's been a proposal on the master plan for three and-a-half years now, and it's either time to change it or take it off," said Audrey Lee of Malama Moana.
The revised plan would reduce the makai side parking stalls, add perpendicular stalls on the mauka side, and widen the beach sidewalk.
"It has been transformed somewhat from a promenade to a shared use path, but it's still there," Lee said. "They want to take away the trees and ... grass strip."
The city has been trying for years to find a balance with public workshops and studies, and has also fixed the irrigation system and refurbished the tennis courts. Leaders say the overhaul is necessary as more people move into the nearby high-rises.
"We need to widen it a little to make it comfortable for both pedestrians and bicycles, or scooters, to use in a shared event," said Robert Kronig,city director of design and construction.
Another point of contention is a dog park planned for the area near the Kamakee Street entrance next to Kewalo Basin.
Honolulu city councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, whointroduced a resolution to have the city add more dog parks, says she has reservations about the plan.
"I don't know whether Ala Moana Park is the best location for it," Fukunaga said at the meeting.
"People will leave the poop. They'll leave the garbage, and somebody's gotta pick it up," one audience member said. "That is not low maintenance to me."
Several people were less than enthusiastic about the plans for a dog park.
"Dogs do not belong on beaches," said Brian Bagnall of the Outdoor Circle, prompting applause and cheers from the crowd.
"These days people love their dogs. They need their dogs, and we should support the bonding of dogs with their people," Bagnall said. "And it can be done in a responsible way. But they don't belong on beaches.".
The public comment period ends August 22, and all comments before that date will be incorporated into a final EIS.
It's unknown exactly when the document will be ready.
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