As the Council’s Budget Committee reviews the FY 19 City budgets, we are focusing on improving conditions at City parks and comfort stations.
Because of increased damages to restroom facilities, unsanitary or other hazardous circumstances that have accompanied homeless encroachments in City parks, Mayor Caldwell announced a pilot project that will use private security contractors to help reduce vandalism and improve park security. The parks identified in West Honolulu’s District 2 pilot project group include Dole Community Park, Smith-Beretania Park, ʻAʻala Park, Beretania Community Park, Kauluwela Mall, Na Pueo Mini Park, Loʻi Kalo Mini Park, Kalihi Uka Community Park, Fern Community Park, Keʻehi Lagoon Park, Moanalua Community Park, Ala Puʻumalu Community Park, and Salt Lake District Park.
The pilot project will run until the end of June 2018, when DPR will assess its outcomes. The security work has been contracted to American Guard Services, Inc. for $25,916. Security personnel with the contractor will operate in clearly-marked vehicles and uniforms, and use designated procedures to secure each park. They will alert the public of immediate closures and coordinate with Honolulu Police and DPR 2018, when DPR will assess its outcomes. The security work has been contracted to American Guard staff if a situation requires further enforcement.
I have already received requests from neighbors of Auwaiolimu Park and Kamamalu Park to see whether they can be added to the list for West Honolulu! I also proposed amendments to Bill 16, the FY 19 CIP budget for parks in the Nuuanu-Punchbowl neighborhood; and would appreciate your feedback regarding additional needs:
- Auwaiolimu Park: $500,000 to design and construct park improvements in the park to mitigate homeless encroachments in the area, including exterior LED lighting around the park’s comfort stations to deter illegal activity and overnight homeless sleeping in the comfort stations.
- Kamamalu Park: $850,000 to design and construct a replacement for the backstop at the Ned Matsuyama Baseball Field. The current backstop is functionally deficient in meeting City standards for a softball field; and baseball field users believe the upgrades will help reduce the number of homeless campers that constantly return to Kamamalu Park in spite of numerous sweeps and complaints from abutting neighbors, schools, YMCA and others.