HART developing plan to fight graffiti - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HART developing plan to fight graffiti

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

There's the good, the bad and the ugly with rail property. The good is that a day after we brought a deteriorating property to HART's attention, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is being responsive and is already cleaning up the weeds. That property is on Dillingham Boulevard in Kalihi.

However the ugly is another rail property a block from Pearlridge that is covered in graffiti from end to end.

"As you can see look at it, it makes us look like we're in a slum area not a business area," said Steve Ahmed, Car Stereo Express Owner, which is right next door to the vandalized City building. "That's an eyesore. It's a waste of money. Look at it, there's nothing but graffiti all over the place."

Hart paid more than $6 million for this property and graffiti has been an ongoing problem for years.

"It got graffitied, the city came down and put a fence around it, and it got graffitied again and it's been the same since then," said Ahmed.

Steve Ahmed is not exactly a fan of the rail because he says rail booted him from his prior location just across the street.

"It's very difficult. It cost us several hundred thousand dollars to fix this place. We're still paying the price up until now. Even though it's directly across the street from our old location we were there for 15-16 years and we were established. Now 70-80 percent of the customers don't even know we're here," said Ahmed. "I have the records to prove it and show the sales for the years I was there and when I moved."

He worries if the City can't keep vandalism off one property, how is it going to clean up after more than 800 concrete pillars along the rail route?

"More things to vandalize. More things to make Hawaii look ugly," said Ahmed.

"We're actually planning to put anti graffiti treatments on the concrete so we can actually wash them off more easily," said Dan Grabauskas, HART CEO. "We take our responsibility very seriously to be a good neighbor."

The HART CEO is frustrated with the vandals and is starting a new anti-graffiti program to use the Boys & Girls Club to paint a mural over this building.

"Once you do that graffiti artists as they say tend to move on to another building, kind of an honor among thieves kind of thing," said Grabauskas. "I think with this idea of having the kids come up with the mural, paint the building and make it both attractive and not so much a target for vandals."

The mural should be painted in mid May. The hope is the mural will go up and the graffiti will go away.

HART says Sherwin Williams will donate the paint and McDonalds is donating food. They will be looking for volunteers as well. Details are still being worked out. Of course vandals could stop doing all this graffiti.


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