Maikiki Residents Finally Get Swimming Pool

Maikiki residents finally get swimming pool

By James Gonser

Urban Honolulu Writer

After more than two years of construction, Makiki residents finally have a public swimming pool to call their own.

Matthew Murphy-Gomes, 9, does a handstand while trying out the Makiki District Park pool, which opened Monday after more than two years of construction. His companions are Jesse Oliveira, left, and Blaire Viela.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The $2.3 million pool at Makiki District Park officially opened Monday giving residents a place to exercise and beat the heat in their own neighborhood.

"We're delighted the pool is open," said Ben Lee, city managing director. "It's one of the higher-density apartment districts we have in our city. The swimming pools in the condominiums are private so this would be a great asset and complement to the Makiki District Park."

Ground was broken for the project in September 1999 and the 25-yard, eight-lane pool was filled in two months ago. The opening was delayed until the contractor, S&M Sakamoto, completed a final "punch list" on the contract checking the details and making sure everything was installed properly with park staff.

Lee said there have been no major problems and the contractor is carefully going over the facility because the company will be responsible for any repairs from construction for one year after turning it over to the city.

The closest public pools are in Pauoa, Manoa and McCully.

The project also includes new showers, bathrooms, office space and equipment areas, and the city has hired a pool manager and lifeguards.

The pool, between the tennis courts and the arts-and- crafts building, is open for lap swimming from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. weekdays except Thursdays, and for free swimming from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The pool is also open from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Bert Koide, Makiki District Park director, announced the opening at the Ala Moana/Kaka'ako Neighborhood Board last week and said that other activities, including swimming classes and a full aquatic program, will begin in January.

Lee said the architecture was designed to fit in with surrounding buildings.

"Kids (are) already using the pool and there are great views of Punchbowl." Lee said. "It is a great facility."

The project was first proposed by City Councilman Andy Mirikitani, who plans to resign tomorrow and faces sentencing in federal court Tuesday for his convictions involving kickbacks from two aides.

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