Oct 19, 2017
Providing Safe Harbor at Kewalo
It's no secret that Ward Village is abuzz with change. All around us, new buildings are taking shape, new restaurants are opening their doors, and new neighbors are moving into their new homes.
A community has formed, but this is only the beginning. In the coming months, Kewalo Harbor, located almost directly across the street from Ward Village, is primed for a much-needed renovation that will both increase safety and modernize the existing harbor with substantial upgrades to security, pier infrastructure, and utilities.
Dating back to Kamehameha I, who united each of the Hawaiian Islands in the late 18th and early 19th century, the area surrounding Kewalo Harbor served as a fishery and anchorage point for Hawaiians. Originally known as the fishery of Kukuluae'o, this special slice of shoreline served not only as a beacon of sustainability, but it also provided the people of Honolulu with a bounty of seafood as well.
Fast-forward to the 1900s and Kewalo Harbor is home to a booming fishing industry marked by iconic "sampan" boats that troll the outer reefs for aku and other fish off the coast of Honolulu. In fact, the world's largest marlin, Choy's Monster, is thought to be caught off Kewalo Harbor. To be sure, this area has served Honolulu's fishermen well. And although the harbor continues to vigilantly shelter Honolulu's commercial fishing and charter fleet, its infrastructure has deteriorated under the unyielding hand of the elements.
In 2015, the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) who oversees much of Kaka'ako, granted Ward Village the rights to refurbish and reinvigorate a parcel of land that includes the harbor and immediate surrounding fastlands. With this responsibility, Ward Village is committed to creating an environment that maintains the integrity and rich history of the area, while simultaneously uplifting and modernizing the harbor and strengthening the surrounding community. As part of the plan to upgrade the harbor, Ward Village helped to create a new lifeguard station in April of 2016, allowing first-responders and lifeguards an opportunity to arrive at an emergency at a much faster rate than before, a move that's certain to all them to save more lives.
The latest addition to the harbor will include a $20-million-dollar upgrade to its piers. New security gates and new fencing will also be installed. As a means to minimize the impact of these much-needed renovations, the project will be rolled out in phases. "One of the reasons we're doing this in multi-phases is to minimize the impact to the boaters and the businesses that are here," explained Todd Apo, vice president of community development at Ward Village. The entire project is expected to take roughly two years to complete.
In addition to the aforementioned improvements to security and the city's lifeguard response station, new landscaping, signage, maintained restroom facilities, and dock renovations, as well as allocated marketing resources for the commercial fishermen who depend on the harbor for their livelihood will also come to fruition. Throughout all of the efforts, the construction team working on the harbor will be implementing extensive water-quality testing procedures and silt nets to ensure minimal environmental impact as it improves the underwater stability and safety of the docks and piers. When completed, these renovations will usher Kewalo Harbor into a new era, marked by a safer community and a more vibrant harbor. "Ward Village is actively working to make Kewalo Harbor an even better community amenity," added Ward Village's Todd Apo. "We will continue to play an active role in making this deeply valued part of O'ahu's waterfront a more vibrant, dynamic, and safer place for visitors and local families to enjoy."
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