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City finally tackling Hanauma Bay repairs

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    Workmen installed new railings yesterday at Hanauma Bay. The replacement project, which started Monday, is among a number of repairs under way.

Long-standing disrepair at one of Oahu’s iconic tourist destinations is finally being addressed by the city.

Workers are replacing a corroded metal guardrail leading to the highest lookout at Hanauma Bay, a repair item that staff and volunteers have been requesting for years. The replacement project, which started Monday, is among a number of repairs under way.

Other maintenance issues cited at the park in recent weeks include optics problems with the education center’s projector, out-of-service touch-screen educational stations and a balding thatched roof.

Members of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board sent a resolution to the mayor’s office last week noting that repairs were not being done in a timely manner despite numerous requests from staff, volunteers and community members.

Yesterday, Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell acknowledged the city needs to do better in maintaining the popular destination, which attracts at least 800,000 visitors annually.

City crew members replaced about 40 feet of a guardrail earlier this week. Workers plan to replace guardrails along the entire path leading to the highest lookout with galvanized pipe, a temporary fix estimated at $13,000.

The city shut down the area to the public three weeks ago due to safety concerns. Officials will determine by the end of the week when the lookout will be reopened.

A permanent marine-grade stainless-steel guardrail estimated at $250,000 is slated to be submitted into the fiscal year 2012 capital improvements budget.

A new projector in the education center’s theater was installed last week, allowing thousands of visitors to view the bay’s sparkling, blue waters in a short video. Optics problems with the projector had resulted in a yellowish tint on the screen. The new projector cost about $5,000.

Seven of eight new touch-screen computers that feature photos of fish and coral were installed by yesterday afternoon. The $25,000 project is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

Caldwell said the city is looking into a temporary fix for the information booth’s thatched roof. A preliminary estimate for a high-grade permanent fix is estimated at $50,000, city spokesman Bill Brennan said.

The repair backlog prompted the city to come up with a system in which staff will go through a checklist weekly to determine what type of fixes need to be done. "We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again," Caldwell said. "We need to do a better job in making sure fixes are done in a rapid manner."

Longtime volunteer Micki Stash called the weekly checklist a terrific idea.

Of the current repairs, Stash said, "It’s very heartening and wonderful to see that it is finally being done. We would like to see it continue."


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