Safety concerns to close Kauai beach park

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Due to excessive vandalism and complaints about illegal activity at Hanamaulu Beach Park, Kauai County has announced that the park will be closed to the public from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. daily beginning Monday, August 19.

"We've been experiencing chronic issues in this park, and community members, unfortunately, no longer feel safe there at night," stated Director of Parks and Recreation, Lenny Rapozo. "So for the time being we'll be closing a newly installed gate at 10 p.m. and will actively enforce any violations."

A community workday that was held in June to clean and refurbish the park and its facilities was quickly marred by vandalism within 48 hours of the effort. Additionally, the old pavilion structure, which is slated to be demolished pending the issuance of required permits, has become a magnet for vagrants and alleged criminal activity.

"Our goal is to return this beautiful park back to the community – clean and crime-free," stated Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. "However, at the present time, the most prudent action is to close the facility overnight so that we can work with the community to bring it back to that point."

The Mayor added that plans for the closure have been developed in consultation with leaders of the Hanamā'ulu Community Association (HCA), and will be discussed with members of HCA prior to the closure taking effect.

Under Section 19-1.5.b. of the Kaua'i County Code, the Director of Parks and Recreation has the authority to close any section or part of any park facility as he "shall find reasonably necessary for the health, safety or welfare of the public."

"We want to send a big mahalo to the Hanamaulu community for being so proactive in protecting their beloved beach park," stated Rapozo. "And also to the Kaua'i Police Department for their assistance in preparing for and enforcing the overnight closure."

Day use of the park and use of the pavilion from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. will still be allowed. Camping at the park will be suspended while the overnight closure is in effect. Questions can be directed to the Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 241-4456.

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