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  • 646 City Park Tables & Benches Installed As Part Of Ambitious "Let's Meet At The Park" Effort

646 City park tables & benches installed as part of ambitious “Let’s Meet at the Park” effort

Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation masons pouring concrete ahead of table installation at George F. Wright Wahiawā District Park

O‘AHU – With the price of residing in paradise showing no signs of decline, its often the free park activities which can bring the most joy to a day in Hawai‘i nei. Free activities like gathering in your City parks, socializing with friends and family, and enjoying the beautiful environment emblematic of our island home.

To continue inviting members of our community into City parks to enjoy these simple life pleasures, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is proud to announce the completion of the “Let’s Meet at the Park” initiative placing new and replacement benches in lower-income communities around O‘ahu.

Utilizing some $2.88 million in federal funds, a combination of in-house and contracted staff, and support from the Honolulu City Council, this initiative resulted in 347 benches and 299 tables being placed at 61 City gardens and parks. The installations took about eight months, utilizing a variety of skilled staff ranging from masons to carpenters, heavy machine operators to utility workers. At least 20% of the new benches and tables within each park are ADA-accessible, supporting the inclusive nature of City parks by welcoming a diverse demographic of park users.

Today, Councilmember Augie Tulba, DPR Director Laura H. Thielen, DPR’s Maintenance Support Services Manager Peter Yamashita, and several maintenance and park staff marked the finalization of the effort by enjoying some midday pupus at one of the newly installed tables in the Bill Balfour Jr. Waipahū District Park.

Park staff marking the completion of the table installation with some light pupus at Bill Balfour Jr. Waipahū District Park

“In a department with hundreds of locations and thousands of amenities in our inventory, it is important to remember that the simplest of facilities can have the most profound impact,” said DPR Director Laura H. Thielen. “I truly appreciate how quickly these benches and tables were installed by our talented maintenance staff, and the support we received from our City Council. We hope these tables and benches serve as the foundation from which priceless park memories can be generated for generations to come.”

Breakdown of park locations and how many tables, benches were installed through the “Let’s Meet at the Park” initiative

To help determine which park locations would receive these benches and tables, DPR utilized nationally-recognized Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) designations. The CDBG Program is a federally-funded initiative to provide annual grants principally for the improvement of communities in low to moderate income areas. CDBG funds were not utilized in this initiative; instead federal monies from the American Rescue Plan Act were appropriated with approval and oversight from the Honolulu City Council. 

“As a kid from public housing, our community parks shaped who I am today. It's where I was mentored by amazing coaches who were terrific role models for me. It's where I made new friends and reconnected with the kids in my neighborhood. The parks were where I grew up,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Augie Tulba,  Chair of the Committee on Parks, Enterprise Services and Culture and the Arts. “The ‘Let’s Meet at the Park’ initiative to install new benches in lower-income communities will make our parks more welcoming for our community members. Our communities now more than ever need opportunities that will help to foster deep, meaningful connections with their neighbors and nurture a beautiful sense of pride in this place we call home.”

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email at least three business days before the scheduled event. Without sufficient advanced notice, it may not be possible to fulfill requests.

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