A Honolulu park is mysteriously closed and residents want to know why

A Honolulu park is mysteriously closed and residents want to know why

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the past month, a park in the heart of Honolulu has been closed and it's slated to stay that way for another two weeks.

The city says the closure of Kamamalu Park is for maintenance and to repair the comfort station. But some parkgoers aren't buying it.

"I've never seen activity here at the park relative to repair or maintenance," said resident Dennis Hokama.

Hawaii News Now asked the city for the dates that crews were in the park working and got no response.

Hokama believes the real reason for the closure has to do with the homeless.

The city cut off access to the park July 24. That was just one day before the state Department of Transportation embarked on a $4 million effort to keep campers off the H-1 Freeway. The embankment adjacent to the park was the first to be cleared.

For the past month, Hokama has driven by Kamamalu almost every day.

"I have not seen county personnel here," he said. "I'm not even certain the parks people themselves have been here because when I first inquired about the park usage it didn't appear the park supervisor herself was knowledgeable about what was occurring on sight."

Others question why the city is making repairs to the restroom when they thought it was going to be torn down. A year ago city council set aside $50,000 to demolish the comfort station to prevent crime there. The idea was championed by area councilwoman Carol Fukunaga.

In April 2016, Fukunaga spoke about the project: "If we're looking to relocate the restroom to a different area of the park then to me the simplest route is to demolish it as quickly as possible so that it helps speed up all the other efforts we have to really improve and beautify the park."

A spokesperson for the parks department told Hawaii News Now the city is still in talks with the Nuuanu YMCA about a public-private partnership. But despite money being available, "there are no plans to demolish the comfort station."

The city says the park is scheduled to be reopened on Sept. 5.

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