New Sidewalk Patrol focuses on Waikiki

I’m very pleased to announce our new Community Sidewalk Patrol, a program that will enlist the aid of volunteers to help the City repair its sidewalks.

The program’s first focus is Waikiki, due to its heavy pedestrian traffic. During the work week, City personnel will survey the sidewalks and spray paint areas determined to be potential trip hazards needing repairs. The volunteers, supervised by City personnel, will follow with an application of a quick-drying concrete patch to alleviate the problem.

Just as the police ask for residents to be the eyes and ears of a neighborhood, the City needs people to step forward to help us fix problems in their communities.  Like our highly successful Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Block cleanup programs, in which residents take a very active role in maintaining and beautifying their parks and neighborhoods, the Community Sidewalk Patrol will infuse our sidewalk maintenance efforts with the same kind of public-spirited dedication and involvement.  We’re very grateful to the Lions and other groups for stepping forward to spearhead this initial effort.

The City has already recruited a number of organizations interested in supporting the program, including the District 50 Hawaii Lions, affiliate Leos, Boy Scouts of America, and several athletic groups.

The volunteer groups, working every other Saturday morning during the pilot phase, will be able to make repairs to as many as four complete blocks each day.

Should the program be successful and more groups volunteer to participate, the City could expand the effort to other areas.

In other news, our rail transit plan is moving along smoothly, and we expect to receive federal approval of our Final Environmental Impact Statement soon. Bids for construction of the project’s first phase came in lower than engineers had estimated earlier, so the project is in great financial shape as we move forward.

The rail project utilizes revenues from the General Excise and Use Tax surcharge over a 16-year period to fund the City’s portion of construction costs. The Federal Transit Administration is reviewing the project’s updated financial plan, which was submitted in August and supersedes an earlier, and now outdated, May 1 report. 

Christmas is coming soon, and non-profit organizations interested in creating displays on the Civic Center grounds during the annual Honolulu City Lights exhibition should submit applications to the Customer Services Department by Friday, September 18, 2009 at 530 S. King Street, Room 302B, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Permits will be issued for five display sites via a lottery scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, 2009.  The lottery will be held at 10:30 AM in the Mayor’s Conference Room, 3rd Floor, 530 S. King Street.  Applicants are welcome to attend the lottery, but need not be present to be selected.

The annual lottery was started several years ago in response to a request from private groups interested in erecting displays at the same time as the holiday event.

Displays chosen through the lottery process will be on view during the same period as Honolulu City Lights.  Each organization that receives a permit will be responsible for the set-up, maintenance and takedown of its display.

Applicants must be bona fide non-profit organizations formed under HRS Chapter 415B or any charitable organization formed pursuant to HRS Chapter 467B or under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code.  Proof of this designation must be submitted with the application by September 18, 2009 to be eligible for the lottery.

Interested groups should contact Mike Freitas in the Complaints Office at (808) 768-4381 to request a copy of the application and the rules governing the use of the grounds during Honolulu City Lights.