City Shutdown of Ala Moana Beach Park Draws Praise and Protest - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

City Shutdown of Ala Moana Beach Park Draws Praise and Protest

Erick Japeson Erick Japeson
Bob Lee Bob Lee
Tasi Legatasia Tasi Legatasia
Michelle Mikami Michelle Mikami

(KHNL) After the state announced plans to close a popular park, many Sunday say they are left without a place to live. And time is running out, because Sunday is the last night that their home, Ala Moana Beach Park is open.

The rain pours down on Ala Moana Beach Park, turning this once sunny spot into a wet and gloomy place. There is a different kind of gloom hanging over those who call the park home. Monday night, the city will begin a month-long nighttime effort t bring back the shine of this popular beach park, but the repair and cleaning effort will also force those who live here to move out, a move that makes some homeless beach users upset.

"When you clean a park, and close one down you don't clean it up at ten at night to four in the morning when you can't see anything" said Erick Japesen, who lives at the park.

But others who use Ala Moana Beach Park, say cleaning of comfort stations and makeovers of Magic Island facilities will bring back many to the beach.

"Well I think it's fantastic that they're cleaning it up. I heard the parks director on the television the other night, he said that they want to take their parks back and, well, it's great. It will make me want to come here more" said tourist Bob Lee. 

"The place will look more better without the bums and stuff like that. More people could come over and swim." said park visitor Tasi Legatasia.

But for those with no other place to live, being forced to move from this quiet beachside park means a month on the streets during the cleaning.

"We are very confused as to why they would choose now to do this because there is nowhere for these people to go and the state knows this" said Margot Schrire of the Institute for Human Services.

"They gave us all notices last night, they kept on going back, to tell us to get out of here, but we don't know where to go" said Michelle Mikami, who lives at the park.

Again this is a nighttime closure of the park, which will be shut down every night from 10 PM until 4 in the morning for the next month. On April 25, 26, and 27, the park will be closed for the entire day.

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