I am writing to you on behalf of the Kokonut Koalition. We are a community-based 501(c)3 organization that advocates for recreational access and restoration of the Koko Crater Stairs in East Oahu. The "stairway" is a World War II-era tramway and the rail ties are the steps. But almost 80 years of wear and tear without any maintenance have left it in bad shape.
Hikers, fitness enthusiasts, tourists, families, military personnel and more climb Koko Crater Stairs almost 600,000 times a year. Just over half of the foot traffic consists of Oahu residents and active-duty service members. The rest are visitors from all over the world who consider this hike a must-do during their Hawaiian vacations. The tramway’s rail ties and rail bed have deteriorated and severely eroded under the strain of this traffic volume.
Over the past 2 years, the Kokonut Koalition board has been working hand in hand with City & County of Honolulu Council Members, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Department of Planning & Permitting, and the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood board. We contracted for and donated engineering plans to the City & County from one of the world’s leading experts on high angle historical tramway rehabilitation.
The City & County budgeted money to study a long-term repair solution for Koko Crater Stairs. They dedicated most of it to long term planning, but they set aside $100,000 in materials for immediate emergency repairs. Unfortunately, only $74,000 was used to purchase our initial materials for those emergency repairs. We started installing new ties with our network of volunteers in early December and our work has progressed almost half of the way up the tramway. But supplies are already running short. We will be out of supplies in only a few weeks.
Koko Crater Stairs enthusiasts have shown up by the hundreds to volunteer their time and labor toward this first phase of rehabilitation. Our 2,000+ social media followers have passion and commitment for the stairs. The larger audience of people who climb the stairs is enormous. This is already a very high visibility public project with strong community support throughout the island.
I am reaching out to you because the Kokonut Koalition needs funds to purchase additional supplies, retire our debt to our engineer, pay for operational expenses, and install some features that will get Koko Crater on a fiscally sustainable path towards permanent repairs and self-sufficiency. We are asking for your help to hit our $100,000 fundraising goal. The budget for that figure follows. Our experience already shows that these are incredibly effective dollars spent.
Rail Clips (3000) 27,000
Bolts (6000) 9,000
Timberlok Screws (5,000) 2,000
Gravel (180 cu.yards) 10,000
Gravel Bags (3000) 8,000
Retire Debt to Enginuity Engineers LLC 21,000
Organizational Operations (internet platforms, filing fees) 1,000
Tools (Replacement and Additional Sets to Empower Additional Build Teams) 9,000
Trail Traffic Monitors (3) and Data Serving Subscription 9,000
I realize this is a difficult time to ask for money. I also recognize that the rehabilitation of the Koko Crater Stairs is not a project that will provide immediate financial support to residents affected by the pandemic's economic fallout. However, this project can be a symbol of how the residents and local businesses of our state can begin to build a more sustainable future for the Hawaiian islands and ensure the preservation of treasured outdoor assets.
We would be thrilled to partner with WalMart in a visible way, recognizing you during our many public appearances as a major partner/sponsor for restoring and preserving one of Hawaii’s most significant natural, cultural, historical, and recreational assets.
The Kokonut Koalition, appreciates any amount you are able to contribute. We are so grateful for the community response as well.
Thank you for your time and your consideration.
David Nixon, President