WAIKIKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — A pavilion along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki was locked up on Thursday, Dec. 9.

The City Department of Parks & Recreation removed the benches inside the pavilion to prevent illegal activities in the area, but not everyone is happy with their methods.

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“I’ve been coming here for 20, 30 years. I play [chess] on these benches almost every day in the afternoon for a couple hours,” said Waikiki resident Ricky Kawamoto. “Because of all these homeless people here, they took away our enjoy that we come here for every day.”

According to the DPR, crews removed the tables and benches due to illegal activity in the area. They are making room for something more commercial instead.

“The reason that we’re doing that is ’cause we’re trying to make space for possible concessions that are going to come in and activate these two pavilions probably by the beginning of 2022,” said DPR public information officer Nate Serota.

One pavilion has already been converted to a concessions stand, but Kawamoto said it does not address the root of the problem: enforcement.

“[Putting in concessions is] okay too, but it also takes away our benches and our tables that we’ve been coming here for years to play chess,” Kawamoto said.

“You just got to clean it up. I’m not saying clean up everything, but this kind of area where there’s benches and parks, those kind of places.”

Waikiki resident Ricky Kawamoto

The DPR said, working with authorities is part of the equation and they are doing their best to keep everyone happy.

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“Security is certainly an issue that we try to resolve through different ways through the positive activation. We have security cameras in certain areas, we have park rangers in certain areas, and certainly partnering with HPD,” Serota said, “but again, hopefully it’s something that’s useful to the community, that’s really what we want to get out of our park facilities, is the most public usage.”