Kicked out of closed park, scores of homeless move to Kakaako si - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

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After park's closure, Kakaako sidewalks filled with tents

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Within 12 hours of Kakaako Waterfront park closing indefinitely, the sidewalks surrounding the nearby Children's Discovery Center were overrun with tents.

State officials say of the 180 people who were living in the park, a couple dozen accepted help.

"Between Tuesday and Sunday night they placed 32 people into shelter or housing including all the families with minor children in the park," said Scott Morishige, Governor's Homeless Coordinator.

But as quickly as outreach workers moved those families off the street. New ones appeared to take their place. 

Safety concerns prompted the Hawaii Community Development Authority to close the park indefinitely. The announcement came last week following a string of dog attacks and the discovery squatters had been tapping into the electricity - exposing live wires.

Officials estimate the illegal campers have caused a minimum of $500,000 in damage.

Sheriff's deputies stood guard at the entrances of the parks while crews spent the day removing truckloads of garbage. 

"We also have crews that are cutting back some of the brush so we can get a better idea of other things that have been done. It's going to be a day, maybe a couple of days before we can really even fully wrap our arms around what's happened here," said Garett Kamemoto, HCDA spokesman.

Although the city wasn't involved in Sunday's sweep. A spokesman said its crews will clear the new encampments that have gone up on the sidewalks tomorrow.

Until officials get better idea of what problems exist in the park they won't be able to give a accurate time line as to when it may reopen. 

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