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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell pauses Sherwood Forest construction plan

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Workers clear an area Monday where the city planned to construct a field at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said today the project will be placed on hold.

    DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Workers clear an area Monday where the city planned to construct a field at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. Mayor Kirk Caldwell said today the project will be placed on hold.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he is pausing the city’s plans to construct a field at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park after an iwi fragment was found by a contractor Monday at the site.

He said his decision to pause the construction stems from his concerns for the safety of the community and the possibility of gatherings during a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Therefore, in order to allow for people to focus on staying at home during this time, I am going to pause this project while we consult with the appropriate entities,” he said in a statement this afternoon. “We will continue to consult with officials from SHPD and the O‘ahu Burial Council.”

The city met with the State Historic Preservation Division today as well as Waimanalo community leaders on site after the three-inch iwi was found within the project area. He said at a news conference that the bone appeared to be part of an arm.

“We have also been in close contact with members of Save Our Sherwoods and others. The direction from the SHPD is that when there is this type of ‘inadvertent find,’ the project may still move forward with a protective buffer respecting the area around the site and temporary protective measures for the iwi that was found,” Caldwell said.

The city has been working with groups that support and oppose the project, which would create a grassy field at the beach park, also known as Sherwood Forest, for community members to gather as well as a space for keiki to play. Work at the site resumed Monday after being put on hold since October. About two dozen protesters gathered at the site Monday to show their opposition to the project.

“I continue to believe this is a project that can be valuable to the future of the Waimanalo community,” Caldwell said in his statement. “I urge everyone to continue to follow the stay at home order to keep yourselves and your family safe during this time.”

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