KAHALUU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city wants to sell a portion of a popular park in Windward Oahu. However, the proposal is facing backlash from some community members in Kahaluu.
"They (the city) talked about selling the parcel and the money would go back into buying park land. Well, hello, why you gonna sell and buy? You already got it. We worked hard, it got condemned for park purposes," said community activist John Reppun.
The city said half an acre of land of Kahaluu Regional Park should be sold to the highest bidder but for no less than $455,000. It's the portion of grassy land next to Windward Baptist Church off of Kamehameha Highway.
The original request to purchase the land came from the church. Pastor Kevin Akana said they were hoping to expand their congregation or at least use the area for parking. Akana said the church has been around for 20 years and has been maintaining that piece of land since. But after Akana found out the church would have to compete with potential developers for the highest bid, Akana said he decided it wasn't a good idea.
"I didn't want to risk that for our community," Akana said.
"We work with people in our community for the most part. We don't know if someone came in and they would have that same mindset. It could be used for other reasons that may not sit well with the community," he said.
Nevertheless, the city worked out a resolution for it to be sold.
Reppun said the area is down in the flood plains and he is concerned about potential flooding.
"They're talking about allowing for additional development in what is still a flood plain, still a special management area, still a coastal zone management area. They need to accept things like climate change coming at us in a big way."
Reppun said the city should have at least consulted with the neighborhood board and other community members.
The council committee did not make a decision on it on Wednesday because they wanted to work on the resolution more.