YMCA partners with city for Kamamalu park makeover
The Young Men’s Christian Association of Honolulu has agreed to pay $1.7 million for improvements at Kamamalu Neighborhood Park, the city facility next to the YMCA’s busy Nuuanu branch.
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The Young Men’s Christian Association of
Honolulu has agreed to pay $1.7 million for improvements at Kamamalu Neighborhood Park, the city facility next to the YMCA’s busy Nuuanu branch.
The improvements include a new comfort station, a new 150-stall parking lot, expansion and re-striping of the 5.27-acre park’s existing parking lot, new security lighting and improved landscaping.
Under a new city ordinance, Kamamalu parkgoers will need to feed meters to park. That’s to deter downtown workers or others from parking in stalls that should be used by parkgoers.
The city built a new playground area at a cost of $118,000.
Under the public-private partnership, the YMCA will conduct basic maintenance of the comfort station and conduct volunteer cleanups of the park. The city will continue to do regular maintenance. The park also receives roving nighttime security under a contract the city has with a private firm that covers nine Urban Honolulu parks.
The YMCA uses the park for its outdoor programs about
180 days a year, Honolulu YMCA Chief Operating Officer Mike Doss said.
It once also was used regularly by students at nearby Royal Elementary and Central Middle School.
Anne-Marie Murphy, Central principal, said she expects teachers and students to again use the park more frequently once the improvements are made.
“This is a real great opportunity to bring this park back to the community,” Murphy said.
A restroom structure, which has been given a historic structure designation due to its age and architecture, was closed as a result of vandalism, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. It won’t be dismantled, but no decision has been made on how it will be used, he said.
“Today, right now, it’s pretty quiet here,” Caldwell said of the park. “My hope is that in the future, as we move forward, you’ll see keiki out here celebrating the great outdoors on weekdays and weekends.”
The park’s problems have not been solved. On Monday a pile of disposable items — which appeared to be remnants of a camper — were left on the sidewalk along Queen Emma Street fronting the park.
The agreement was formally announced Monday by Caldwell, Parks and Recreation Director Michele
Nekota, YMCA CEO and President Michael Broderick and other YMCA officials at a news conference held at the park.
Caldwell said the partnership is one of about half a dozen the city has now made with private parties. American Savings Bank recently agreed to help with maintenance at Aala Park
directly across North Beretania Street from its new headquarters building, Caldwell said, and the Rotary Club of Honolulu, meanwhile, is building a park in the middle of the state’s tourism mecca.
Some in the community have groused about the need to pay for parking at a city park. But Caldwell said “our concern is that it would be taken over by those who work in town … instead of paying to park in the high-rise office buildings.”
YMCA officials said design work is about 80% complete but that they won’t have a timetable for completion of the improvements until that’s done sometime next year.