Waimanalo residents are deeply divided over a park development in the works

Updated: May. 13, 2019 at 10:33 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After about a decade of planning, city leaders are now trying to convince families in Waimanalo to accept $32 million dollar park project.

Supporters call it a gift, while others are vowing to stop it.

Residents were able to voice their opinions at a packed neighborhood board meeting Monday night.

“Why would you want to stop it? This is a gift to us!” resident Sandra Clarke said. “Ten years ago we planned! Ten years now, or maybe 15 years now, the money is finally coming in.”

The plan is to develop about 75 acres of Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, often known as Sherwood. Construction would bring a skate park, athletic field and a parking lot to the area.

Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed in 2020, but the petition to stop it already has close to 14,000 signatures.

“We have enough parks to take care of our children," Mary Ciacci said in opposition.

“I have sons, they want to skateboard. Every time they skateboard ... they go Hawaii Kai,” project supporter Mabel Spencer said.

Phase 1 of the master plan is currently underway.

It’s a project that’s been more than 10 years in the making but has recently been met with many protests and opposition.

Those who oppose the plan have concerns about increased traffic, a Native Hawaiian bat, and sacred land.

“We should not build anything new, and stop the development until they can come up with a better solution, better management plan and better way of maintaining our current parks," another resident said.

Council Chair Ikaika Anderson, who represents the area and is a Waimanalo resident, says he is is open to discussing changes with community members. But a new environmental assessment may take years to complete.

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