HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is expanding its park security initiative to Windward Oahu and the North Shore.
Starting Friday, crews will add locks to parking lots and comfort stations at 18 parks in an effort to prevent vandalism.
The program was started in April after a rash of vandalism that left smashed sinks and toilets that cost thousands of dollars and often took weeks to fix.
“Our parks are a tremendous public asset and they deserve our malama and respect,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, in a statement.
One of the parks is Waimanalo Beach Park, where there are dozens living in a homeless encampment just outside the park boundary.
“What happens between nine and six in the morning, or 8 to 6 -- when people need to use it?” wondered Waimanalo Neighborhood Board Member Andrew Jamila. “They’re gonna be looking for the closest bush or tree, you know what I mean.”
“Locking them out of a bathroom or putting a gate up in the parking lot, that might potentially cause more ticketing occurring to this community of people who are already at a setback,” said Kukana Kama-Toth. She co-chairs a Waimanalo Neighborhood Board committee that has been trying to assist the campers.
One of the comfort facilities at the park has new signs warning of the nighttime closures, along with new gates. But the other facility closest to the encampment doesn’t.
“There’s no gates,” said Kama-Toth. “So I’m wondering, is part of the $200,000 gonna be to put gates up on our bathrooms?”
American Guard Services will secure the 18 North Shore and Windward Oahu facilities at a cost of $39,000. That’s included in the $200,000 total the city is paying the firm to lock all 59 parks island-wide.
The following 18 parks are included in the project:
- Kaupo Beach Park
- Kaiona Beach Park
- Waimanalo Beach Park
- Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
- Waimanalo District Park
- Kaneohe Beach Park
- Kaneohe Civic Center Neighborhood Park
- Kahaluu Community Park
- Kahaluu Regional Park
- Hauula Beach Park Banzai Skatepark
- Pupukea Beach Park
- Haleiwa Beach Park
- Haleiwa Alii Beach Park
- Kaiaka Bay Beach Park
- Waialua District Park
- Aweoweo Beach Park
- Mokuleia Beach Park
The initial pilot project began in April 2018, with 41 parks already secured.