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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    April 15, 2005

Release M-32

 


MAYOR ANNOUNCES KUHIO AVENUE TREE PLAN

 

            Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced the City plans to move fewer than one-fourth of the 350 trees it maintains along Kuhio Avenue.

 

The City Department of Parks and Recreation will arrange for a contractor to take at least 80 of the trees out. All but four are expected to be replanted elsewhere. The other four are rainbow shower trees. Three of them are damaged or diseased, the other is dead. The City will still maintain at least 265  trees along Kuhio Avenue, almost four times as many as were there before 2004.

 

“It’s important to note that the City had only 73 trees on Kuhio Avenue before my predecessor’s project last year,” said Hannemann. “While the project did help Waikiki’s appearance, it created unnecessary public safety hazards.”

 

            Hannemann said, “In its efforts to beautify Waikiki, the prior administration planted an excess of trees.  That was despite the recommendations from some of the front-line City experts and employees.”

 

The trees and the construction of a median make Kuhio difficult to negotiate for large vehicles, block access for emergency vehicles and create pedestrian and driving hazards and other problems.


             “We are not dismantling the Kuhio Avenue beautification project, but simply addressing those safety issues,” Hannemann said. “These moves are being made after input from many City agencies and a thorough review by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation’s Division of Urban Forestry.”

 

The survey also found a few of the trees are damaged or, in some cases, were planted so close together that they will crowd each other out as they mature.

Lester K.C. Chang, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and his staff are working closely with the Outdoor Circle and other interested parties to strike a balance among safety, beautification and fiscal realities.

           

            Chang and leaders of the Outdoor Circle inspected each of the 350 trees together today. 

 

They agreed that nine of the 22 monkeypod trees planted last year should be removed. Seven of those will be replaced with rainbow shower trees that are removed from other locations along Kuhio. The other 13 newly planted monkeypods are still under discussion. The options include leaving them in place; removing five of them, or replacing all 13 with shower trees. The four monkeypods that were already along Kuhio Avenue before last year’s project will not be touched.

 

The City plans to relocate at least 77 rainbow shower trees. At least seven of them will replace monkeypod trees along Kuhio Avenue.

 

In addition to the Outdoor Circle, the Hannemann administration has attempted to include various community groups as it drew up its plan for the Kuhio Avenue trees. Those groups include the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, Waikiki Improvement Association, Hawaii Hotel Association, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and various City and state elected officials.

 

           

Type of tree

Previous

Installed last year

Current

To be removed

After the

project

Coconut Palm

     27

   122

    149

        1     

      148

Rainbow Shower

     42

   133

    175

      70*

      105

Monkeypod

       4

     22   

      26

        9*

  4 to 17**

      Total

     73

   277

    350

80 to 85

 265 to 270

                       

*  --  Seven monkeypod trees will be replaced with rainbow shower trees from among the 77 that are being displaced.

** -- The original four monkeypod trees will stay in place. Of the 13 remaining newly planted monkeypod trees, discussion is under way with the Outdoor Circle to leave them all in place, remove five or replace all 13 with rainbow shower trees

 

 

 

Contact:  

Lester K.C. Chang, Director of Parks and Recreation, 692-5585

 

 

Friday, April 15, 2005

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