Earlier this month, Councilmember Elefante and I conducted a site visit to Aiea District Park with Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) representatives, concerned park users and our staff. Since improvements to the baseball field are finally underway, park users wanted to know whether field lighting would be included in the park improvements. According to DPR staff, the FY 2014 $600,000 appropriation for Aiea District Park would only cover the reconfiguration of the baseball field and an ADA-accessible walkway.
Funds for plans, design and installation of the field lighting would have to be undertaken incrementally through DPR’s bulk appropriation for the region.To address the need for field lighting as an integral part of the baseball/softball field improvements, I proposed adding $1.3 million for Aiea District Park as an amendment to Bill 15, CD1. Thanks to supportive testimonies from individuals like Cheryl Cudiamat, Claire Tamamoto, Lance Takasawa and Kennard Chong, the Budget Committee adopted the Bill 15, CD2amendments on May 10, 2016:
“I support the $1.3 million proposed amendment to Bill 15, CD1 for funding to install new softball field lights at Aiea District Park. Aiea has a long-standing, successful history of baseball and softball, and more importantly has a rich and bright future. Aiea High School, along with the community leagues such as Pony League, Little League, and the Aiea Warriors Softball organization – they have all continually played in numerous State title championships.” (Cheryl Cudiamat, CEO – Keiki Care Center of Hawaii)“Adding lighting to our Aiea District Park baseball field is a welcome addition to the only large diamond in our community…Aiea has a rich history of baseball players and the addition of lighting helps to give our teams an opportunity to host evening tournaments…provides our players the ability to practice under lights in preparation for away tournaments…[and] give the community more flexibility in the use of the field.” (Claire Tamamoto, Aiea Community Association)
My staff and I are now checking with DPR on whether a new batting cage will be included in the new baseball field, since the older configuration included a batting cage that was removed when construction started. Bill 15, CD2 will be considered on 3rd and Final Reading during the June 1, 2016 Council meeting at Honolulu Hale. I strongly encourage Aiea community stakeholders to continue to send supportive testimony on the Aiea District Park lighting (and batting cage if funds are needed).