by: Paul Drewes
(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.