HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some Chinatown merchants are taking back their community. They're volunteering to cover up graffiti and cleanup the rubbish. It's part of a new Adopt a Block program in Honolulu. The program just started on Saturday and the improvements are already being noticed.
It takes a village to raise a child and in Chinatown's case it takes the community to keep the village clean. Graffiti has marked the area but merchants and the community association are cleaning it up one block at a time.
"It is a blight and everyone suffers. It's not good for tourism. It's not good for anybody looking in and saying Chinatown it's such a yucky place," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Chinatown Business & Community Association President.
Residents say cleanup efforts have been swept aside over the years. So the volunteers have gotten paint and supplies donated by owners and merchants. They spruced up Pauahi Street last weekend.
"People are realizing you cannot just depend on our city workers to cleanup because a lot of the trash and responsibility falls on our own people," said Shubert-Kwock
They have already hit some snags with all the historic buildings in Chinatown. The paint has to match perfectly so it takes coordination.
"We need to go around and ask permission because we don't want to get sued for doing good work," said Shubert-Kwock.
The Honolulu Police Department is also helping knowing clean neighborhoods help deter crime and they are coordinating more community cleanups in Kalihi and Kakaako for April 20. For more information click here.
"It's a very workable model and I hope people duplicate it over many neighborhoods," said Shubert-Kwock.
The Chinatown Business & Community Association would also like to see a city law stating property owners must paint over graffiti within a specific amount of time or get a fine. They plan to lobby the city council on the proposal.