In May 1948, long before the Pali Tunnels made daily commuting from downtown Honolulu to the Windward side feasible, a small group of women gathered in the sleepy beach town of Kailua (population 3619) to organize the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle. More soon joined them and the Circle grew to more than 200 members within a few years.
Photo above shows LKOC volunteers working on the median in front of the old Kailua Theater at right, circa 1950's.
Photo below shows Kailua, circa 1940's, looking makai, with Central Triangle in center.
By 1950 Kailua had 7,740 residents, with new subdivisions sprouting in Keolu Hills, Kalaheo Hillside, and Enchanted Lake. Soon the group was instrumental in the landscaping and planting of over 2000 trees at the new schools being built.
With the tunnels nearing completion, by 1960 Kailua's population had more than tripled to 24,402. Kaneohe Marine Base added another 6,397 to that figure. Our projects included assistance with planting at the newly built Castle Hospital and funds and labor to refurbish the Triangle Parks at Kailua Road and Oneawa Street, Kalapawai, and Lanikai.
We fought open burning at the Kailua dump on Quarry Road. Kawainui Marsh preservation became an issue and we worked toward this goal. Our members spearheaded the eventual formation of the Kawainui Heritage Foundation in 1983. We worked for bike paths to connect Kailua neighborhoods, pushed again for planting of more street trees, and then kept them watered and trimmed.
Our population of mostly young families was 33,783 in 1970, plus 7,860 more on the Marine Base. LKOC continued working to expand Kailua Beach Park, save Mount Olomana from development on it slopes, landscape the new Kailua post office, remove the Kapaa quarry roadside junkyard, and create height limitations for downtown Kailua.
In 1980 we had 35,812 residents (plus 11,578 Marines) and we successfully prevented the acquisition of Aikahi Triangle by developers, rerouted Mokapu Boulevard to its present position, and created the large tree-shaded park area you see at that corner today. We pushed for trees in the medial strip along the entirety of Mokapu Boulevard. We were successful in facilitating the city's acquisition of the Boettcher Estate/Kalama Beach Park.
By 1990, Kailua's population had stabilized at 36,818 residents and 11,662 Marines. Our projects includied landscaping of Alala Point at the entrance to Lanikai, the corridor leading into Kailua town, refurbishment of Pohakupu fountain and park landscaping, protection of Kaiwi Coastline from development, preservation and replanting of trees at Kailua Library, and expansion of Kailua Beach Park to its present area near the boat ramp. The Christmas "white lights" decorations were begun by LKOC in this period.
"I Love Kailua" Town Party In 1992, LKOC held the first "I Love Kailua" Town Party which has grown into a full-scale annual community event. This has been our major fundraiser, where proceeds are used for landscaping projects throughout Kailua town. Please visit our "I Love Kailua"Town Party page for more details on this event.
Scholarships In 1993, as part of our educational outreach goals, LKOC began its scholarship program with Windward Community College. Since then, we have given yearly scholarships to more than 50 students enrolled in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Programs there. Please visit our WCC Scholarships page for more details on this important program that helps the next stewards of our land and natural resources.
LKOC/WCCC Partnership We are proud of the horticultural training programs at the Women's Community Correctional Center created by LKOC in 1999, where the women learn skills which will help them find jobs upon release. In return, they maintain some of Kailua's roadsides and parks, thus saving many taxpayer dollars. Please visit our LKOC/WCCC Partnership page for more details on this life-altering program, and how you can get involved.
LKOC Projects in Recent Years In the early 2000's, we installed new plants at Kailua Post Office and Hawaiian Tel building on Kuulei Road. We replaced the dead Wiliwili trees on Mokapu Boulevard. We are proud of our latest landscaping projects at the Pali Palms and Kalapawai Triangles at either end of Kalaheo Avenue, which we have been maintaining for the city since 2010 and 2012 respectively. Please visit our LKOC Projects and our LKOC Accomplishmentspages for details on the many projects and activities we have been involved in over the years.
Advocacy In 2010, Kailua's population was 38,635, with 9517 military personnel. We continue to promote adherence to our State's exemplary sign laws regarding outdoor commercial advertising, as well as actively advocate for responsible development and the preservation of the Kawainui/Hamakua Marsh. Please visit our Signs, Public Affairs and Advocacy, and Kawainui Marsh pages for more information about our important efforts here.
Volunteer Opportunities Recently, in 2017, we adopted Kalama Beach Park through the city's 'Hoa Paka' program, and do regular volunteer maintenance there, involving removal of invasive species, and major landscape trimming, pruning, and cleanup. Please visit our Volunteer Opportunitiespage for more details on how you can get involved.
Preserving our Tree Canopy We continue to be actively involved in the maintenance and enhancement of our urban tree canopy through the planting of new trees in our public spaces, as older ones are removed due to age or disease. By working with other like-minded organizations, as well as State, County, and municipal entities, we have made a difference! Please visit our Trees page for more details on our activities in this effort.
How You Can Help While ours is a volunteer organization, much of what we do requires major funding. To raise money for these projects, we sponsor the "I Love Kailua" Town Party, which is open to the general public. This event raises funds through our LKOC plant sales, LKOC Town Party t-shirt and button sales, and food vendor sales, as well as raises awareness of beautification issues in our community. These activities and your contributions in support of our organization are what make it possible to continue our work toward the goal of "Keeping Kailua Clean, Green, and Beautiful."
Mokapu Blvd: Oneawa to KMCAS back gate: Coconut trees (1967); Narra, Rainbow Shower, Monkey Pod, Palms (purchase and installation) (1982-1985, and 2010).
Kailua Corridor Phase I, II: Oneawa to Waimanalo Junction: trees, palms, naupaka (landscape design, installation and on-going maintenance of Phase II from above dike road to Hamakua Drive 2000-present).
Kailua Corridor Phase III: Kalanianaole east from Waimanalo Junction: Luolu palms (purchase, installation). (2005)
Kailua Recreation Center parking lot: Luolu palms, Shower, Autograph trees (landscape design, installation, (2008); mulching (2014)).
Castle Hospital: Monkey Pod (installation). (1999)
In collaboration with DOT, City and County, and State entities. Funding through private donations, foundations, and fundraising campaigns. Our efforts involved surveying, designing, spearheading installation, performing maintenance. Street Tree Plant Materials came from C&C list of acceptable street trees and native plants from their Waipio nursery. Sustainability: LKOC contracted with Board of Water Supply to pay on-going water bills on several projects.