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Magic Island parking lot reopens after $2.5M restoration project

Just in time for beach-goers and park users over the long holiday weekend, the ‘Aina Moana (Magic Island) parking lot at Ala Moana Regional Park has reopened to the public, after having been closed since April 13 for restoration work that is now almost completed, city Department of Parks & Recreation officials announced today.

The 470-stall parking lot, representing nearly half the total 1,000 parking spots in what is popularly known as Ala Moana Beach Park, was repaved and restriped, and new gates, benches, and a drop-off zone have been installed, DPR said in a news release.

Improvements were also made to tree planting spaces, irrigation, and curbing “to help (the park’s) monkeypod, geometry, and hau trees to thrive and provide a sufficient canopy to cool the area beneath them,” the agency said, noting that a new tree was planted to replace each unhealthy tree that was removed.

During the last four years, more than 300 trees have been planted in the park, including a variety of species ranging from loulu palms to lonomea, beach heliotrope and shower trees.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the $2.5 million project, begun by contractor Road Builders Corp. after city parks closed in April due to the new coronavirus crisis, was the latest step in an overall, multi-million dollar makeover.

“Throughout our administration we have given much needed care to Ala Moana, the People’s Park, the most popular park in the state,” Caldwell said, listing improvements to the roadway, parking, irrigation, beach, bathrooms, showers, exercise equipment, pathways, tree inventory, McCoy Pavilion, staffing and security, “while making this the first city park to convert completely to LED lights and receive dedicated sand volleyball courts.”

DPR Director Michele Nekota thanked the public for its patience and asked for a little more while remaining landscaping and maintenance work is completed by the contractor.

“With the tumultuous nature of this year, it will be nice to get back to some level of normalcy by reopening roughly half of the parking spots after a much-needed makeover,” Nekota said. “We appreciate the patience of the park users (and) your understanding as the project continues.”

A $1.96 million shoreline improvement project along the Hawaiian Pond near the Atkinson Drive entrance to the park is being done by Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co.

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To view park projects and planning documents from previous public hearings, visit bit.ly/AlaMoanaPark.

Correction: The shoreline improvement project along the Hawaiian Pond is being done by Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. An earlier version of this story reported the work was being done by Road Builders.

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