HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Things quickly got heated inside the McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park Monday night as the city held its final public meeting on the park's future.
Hundreds of people hissed and booed at project officials when they discussed plans to remove the current beachfront parking and grassy area in order to create a wider path for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Vehicles would be moved mauka with diagonal parking, but there would be no drop in the number of spaces.
"Leave the parking alone," yelled one man from the crowd.
Plans to restore and renovate the 119-acre beach park began in 2015 when Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced his 9-point community action plan.
After several public workshops, some beachgoers still feel ignored.
"They don't respect us," said Patti Choy. "They're just dissing us by ignoring a crucial issue."
After the powerpoint presentation, Caldwell told those concerned about parking to come to the front of the pavilion and those with other concerns to go to the back of the room.
It was a tactic that upset the crowd even more.
"It's such a divide and conquer tactic," said Choy. "They know people organized specifically on the parallel beachside parking and they do this tactic to break us all up."
The group did break up, but that didn't stop frustrated residents and even keiki from barraging the Mayor with questions.
"If you really care about the kids and elderly people, why are you moving the parking?" asked 11-year-old Miya Carveiro. "That makes it more dangerous if it's on the mauka side and you have to walk across the street."
Caldwell promised the crowd the plan is not a done deal.
In fact, the master plan still awaits an environmental impact study to be completed by the end of summer.
A city spokesman said that will restart a period for public comments.
The improvements will likely include a replenished beach, renovated restrooms, new irrigation and maintenance staff and road repaving.
A few people at meeting who weren't riled up by the parking plan appreciated the city's commitment to the 84-year-old park.
"I think it's a great investment," said Mark Brown. "This is a premier park and I commend it. Sure, it can probably require a little tweaking here and there, but in general I think it's very well thought out."
Visit the Department of Parks and Recreation website for further information on Ala Moana Regional Park.