HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An expensive beach park makeover is running into resistance now that the project is finally starting.
Waimanalo resident Jody Green has collected hundreds of signatures opposing plans to develop land nears Bellows Air Force Station called Sherwood Forrest.
"It's last minute. It may not even stop the fields from being built," said Green. She says over the years the plan, which she once supported, has changed and now will include athletic fields that she claims aren't needed, citing the unused fields at Waimanalo District Park.
"Attention needs to be put on to those fields that are sitting now and unused for three decades. They are beautiful fields they have got the facilities, they have got the parking, everything is right there," added Green.
But those fields have been essentially abandoned by the city because they’re clay, they keep cracking and aren’t safe. They have been re-soiled time and again and windward Oahu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson says the city has even replaced the irrigation system in an attempt to solve the problem.
“So what we have at Waimanalo District Park is a field that because it is clay, can not be rehabilitated, cannot be fixed on a permanent basis. So the city would be continuously throwing money at that field, only to see all of that topsoil go away,” said Anderson who wants his constituents to know that the master plan for this project was community led and something that Kupuna in Waimanalo came to him about in order to address the lack of usable sports fields.
"I let the community do the deciding as to what was in the plan. The money, yes - city council is responsible for appropriating the money but the details of the plan is all community," added Anderson.
One of the biggest concerns for opponents of this plan is traffic along Kalanianaole Highway. Opponents say that when families from all over windward Oahu start using this sports complex, things will get much worse.
“To put a sports hub here, right in the traffic and people coming not only from our community (not as bad) but from other communities on the island to play their games here on the weekends when the traffic is at its worst is just a horrible idea,” added Jody Green.
The $32 million project is moving forward, with $1.4 million appropriated from the city to begin work this year. It could take up to twenty years to complete.