Aala Park To Become Family Friendly

Koe Therepa
Koe Therepa

(KHNL) - It used to attract a criminal crowd.

Now, there's hope Aala Park will attract a different kind of crowd.

They're planning for a party!

Putting up tents for food, rides for the kids and even a huge inflatable movie screen.

"We want people to know this is a park that is very family friendly." says Kelfred Chang, with the Chinatown Merchants.

That's right, this movie and party isn't happening on the sands of Waikiki, instead its happening on the outskirts of Chinatown at Aala Park.

"What people don't realize is that Aala Park was a very popular gathering place in the early 1900s." adds Chang.

Over the years this gathering place , became a place for crime and violence and drugs, a scary place no matter who you were. Just ask those who spend their days at the park.

"Before it was like crazy, scary, scary" says park regular, Koe Therepa.

But stepped up police patrols and closing the park at night has had a positive impact for everyone.

"I've seen a lot of changes its not crowded with alcohol and drugs like it used to be." says park regular, Anthony Olsheski.

This chinatown park is cleaner but it is still a haven for the homeless, a problem they say, won't go away with the reduction in crime.

"We need a place to go to. Everything is here, my doctor is down the road, welfare across the street, its convenient for me." says Olsheski.

Chinatown merchants hope this weekend's movies at Aala Park will also be convenient for everyone. Thousands came to the area for Chinese New Year celebrations, but for most, it will be their first time to the new and improved Aala Park.