UH will re-open Lyon Arboretum to public access on Sunday, January 2

University of Hawaiʻi
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
UH Manoa Chancellor's Office
Posted: Dec 20, 2004

University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa Chancellor Peter Englert has announced that Lyon Arboretum will re-open to full public access on Sunday, January 2, 2005. The facility has been closed since late August, when the university determined that there were several serious health and safety concerns regarding the Arboretum‘s buildings and grounds.

"We have been able to make necessary accommodations over the last several months to assure safe public access again," said Chancellor Englert. "I‘m delighted that we will now be able to make the gardens, trails and special plant collections available to those who appreciate the park for the significant natural resource that it is.

"I will be among the first visitors in January," Englert said. "I will personally join with an afternoon tour group to do a ʻwalk about‘ on the grounds. We‘re inviting the public to join us for a New Year rediscovery of the beauty and serenity of this special place."

Limited numbers of volunteers have been allowed into the park to work with permanent staff since late October. The Arboretum depends heavily on a loyal volunteer corps — numbering as many as 400 — to help maintain plant collections and portions of the grounds.

Working with Arboretum staff, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, public companies and private contractors, the university has:

-pruned and taken down very large trees that were about to fall, including one as high as a twelve story building;

-made structural evaluations of buildings being used and, having found some of them structurally unsound, have secured them from entrance;

-changed surfaces of walkways and other areas to minimize the risk of people falling; -placed warning and guideway signs to assist the public throughout the grounds;

-moved low hanging utility lines;

-conducted training for staff so that they are better able to handle emergencies;

-put in place an ADA-compliant toilet facility; and

-undertaken a multitude of other tasks to improve the park.

The university has included in its budget request to the legislature the sum of $3 million to fund more substantial repair work to buildings and grounds. If approved by the legislature and released by the governor, the funds could be available in mid-2005.

Over the next several months, a community-university task force will continue its longer-range review of the Arboretum‘s mission and the appropriate role of the facility in the university‘s mission to teach, conduct research and serve the community. In addition, a Manoa faculty committee is looking at the potential for augmentation of the Arboretum‘s research programs as a means of expanding its funding resources.

For more information, visit: http://www.lyonarboretum.com