Ewa Beach seeks to reclaim a park long known as a magnet for crime

The Ewa Beach community wants to turn around a beloved gathering place

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of Ewa Beach residents gathered in Kapolei on Wednesday night to discuss plans to reclaim Oneula Beach Park, also known as Hau Bush.

The park has long been a magnet for homeless campers and illegal activity.

"People came in very divided and we left united. It was a hard process to go through,” said the area councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

Pine said for the first time in Ewa Beach history, majority of the community has agreed on park closure hours as long as Native Hawaiian fishing practices are still allowed.

“We are cleaning up the crime, we're getting rid of the drug dealers, we're getting rid of the vandalism, people have destroyed all the new improvements that we have done to this park, we’re especially also getting rid of the illegal dumping," Pine said.

Ewa Beach resident Penny Parnes helps clean the park every month from rubbish to graffiti to invasive species. She says it’s a treasure worth her time and energy.

"This is a community that is deeply invested in the park. We care about it. We'll upkeep it. We want money for improvements, we want money to sustain the park and we need to find a way to continue the good work that we do so future generations can enjoy our efforts,” Parnes said.

Parnes said she and others want a usable ball field and just a safe place for families to use for generations.

The city’s parks director said plans for a new irrigation system, road improvements and a better drainage system are already under way.

"We actually are going to open the bids for the road improvement and the parking lot at the end of May, so in a couple weeks, and we're also going to be doing the irrigation in about two months we'll open up the bids," said Michele Nekota.

Nekota said they also plan to address erosion in 2020.

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