Lyon Arboretum improvements to proceed following State Land Board permit approvalUniversity of Hawaiʻi
The State Board of Land and Natural Resources has approved a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) for Lyon Arboretum that will allow the University of Hawaiʻi to move forward with repairs and renovations to resume full public access to the facility.
"This is great news for the Arboretum," said interim director Cliff Morden. "We have been waiting to begin repairs and improvements to several buildings and to start scheduling our education programs again, and now we can proceed. I expect we will see some significant changes at the Arboretum over the next couple of years."
The facility was closed to the public in late August 2004 because of health and safety issues, including the structural stability of some buildings, electrical shortcomings and the safety of pathways. Public access was allowed in early 2005, and some volunteer activities resumed. But commercial activities at the gift shop and educational programs for school-aged youngsters and adult classes — numbering well over 100 classes per year — have not begun again.
The State Legislature appropriated $3 million dollars at its January session as an initial investment in fix-ups, and approval of the CDUP will allow that work to begin.
"We are committed to Lyon‘s program of education, research and community service," said UH Manoa Chancellor Denise Konan. "Over the past year, a broad-based community steering committee and a Chancellor-appointed task force concluded reviews of the arboretum that are being utilized to develop plans for the arboretum‘s future. I am pleased that we can now begin to move forward to assure that this significant state, community and university asset is preserved and enhanced."
Lyon Director Morden noted specific issues that can now be resolved:
Disability access issues around the main office building and the Children‘s Learning Center can finally be addressed. This will include improvements to the walkway around the office building, making the restrooms accessible, and developing ADA-compliant access to the children‘s center.
Several of the cottages on the property — some constructed in the 1920s — are in dire need of renovation. Parts of the buildings have termite problems, and repairs to the buildings have been neglected for decades. These will utilized for offices, laboratory and work space when repairs are completed.
Plans to re-establish educational classes — including school excursions — are underway.
Trail maintenance and visitor safety have been a big concern in the past. Efforts to make repairs to trails from past floods and to build new trails that are safer are in the works.