With the City’s support, the BID lined
up vendors of fresh produce, cut flowers, crafts and jewelry,
food items, and live entertainment, and last August, opened
the Fort Street Mall Open Market.
Since we started the Open Market, the area has really lightened
up,” said Chris Nakashima-Heise, president of BID, in a
2003 Honolulu Advertiser article. “The people who actually
live and work in the area are beginning to use it again whereas
they stayed away before.”
Daisy Kamiya, who participates in numerous open markets around
town, said her downtown market stall does the best business. “We’d
like to thank the Business Improvement District for having us,” Kamiya
said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”
Kamiya said that the BID provides security for her and her
employees, and that the downtown markets are all very well
added that they get most of their business from office workers.
Some students do use the open markets, saying the vegetables
are cheaper and fresher than the grocery stores.
Siri Masterson said that the market place, along with all
the live entertainment, improves the overall image of Fort
Mall, but she added that she was not happy about the seating
situation, referring to the continuing lack of benches on
upper Fort Street Mall.
Fewer places to sit, same scene,” Masterson said, referring
to the $100,000 cleanup the city undertook over a year ago
when it removed all the public benches from Fort Street Mall
Hotel and Beretania streets, an area often used by the homeless.
Removal of the benches drew criticism from students, as
well as providers of services to the homeless and businesses
residents concerned about elderly shoppers.
Carol Costa, spokeswoman for Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris’s
office, said that moving the benches was an effort to try to
get control of the safety and cleanliness of Fort Street Mall.
The city restored some of the benches in July.
The city has been working very hard to upgrade Fort Street Mall
and to upgrade the street furniture,” Costa said. Part
of that upgrade includes the chairs and tables that have been
made available to Fort Street Mall merchants.
City workers also regularly clean the entrances to the
buildings and use a “green machine” on the mall itself, to
remove leaves and other debris.
The Fort Street Mall BID will continue to make it a priority
to keep the mall safe and clean, said Nakashima-Heise,
and it will also continue efforts to provide events and
the community. Coming soon will be free Chi Gung morning
exercise classes on the mall, and a Shave Ice Festival
is planned for
September’s Friday Open Markets.
In December, the BID will once again light up the entire
mall and host a Christmas Craft Fair.
Costa also credits HPU: “Having a college environment in
the core of your city keeps it very vibrant,” Costa said.