New Wahiawa park built, but residents question location - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New Wahiawa park built, but residents question location

Silvia Manley Koch, Ed.D: Wahiawa Neighborhood Board Member Silvia Manley Koch, Ed.D: Wahiawa Neighborhood Board Member
Caroline Sluyter: State Department of Transportation. Caroline Sluyter: State Department of Transportation.
WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Parks in general usually make people happy, but a new park here in Wahiawa has some residents calling it a waste of money. That's because the new Kaukonahua Park right next to the Wahiawa off ramp on the H2 freeway and on the busy Kamehameha Highway. There are no sidewalks, no street parking and no real easy way to get there. The nearest parking lot is more than 250 yards away and you have to walk against traffic across a busy bridge.

"The municipal parking lot, when you park you are going to cross this huge bridge over here and the safety for the kids and adults if they come with their pets I question that," said Silvia Manley Koch, Ed.D., Wahiawa Neighborhood Board Member.

As I was walking to the park a Nissan Sedan came into the shoulder to turn right and came close to hitting me.

"It's just not safe. It's not safe," said Dr. Koch.

People also call it the park for the homeless. We did see people coming up from under the bridge. There are homeless camps underneath near Lake Wilson and right next to the park.

"It's not the most quiet, peaceful place to come spend an afternoon or have lunch with your kids. I question the location of it. Why here?" said Dr. Koch.

Why here is because the state has had complaints about the area and all the illegal activity there so it's spending $110,000 to spruce it up. It cut down 65 non native eucalyptus trees and put up a fence, benches and a gravel walking path. It may not be the most used park but it is nicer that what it was before.

"We are hoping it will be a more inviting place and when you open up a place and it's not so dark it might be less likely a place for that stuff to occur," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation.

As for access, the state is considering re-striping Kamehameha Highway to alleviate some of the heavy traffic there, although its unknown if there will a pedestrian walkway.

"We know it's not a perfect solution and we know access isn't perfect so that's something that is still in discussion something that we're looking at," said Sluyter.

They'll also have to do something about the keep out sign that is right next to the park and "Welcome to Wahiawa" sign.

Royal Palm Construction & Landscaping, Inc. is the contractor doing the work. A company representative tells us the sprinklers are only temporary to get the grass growing and the park will be ready to open soon.

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