City officials were at Hans L’Orange Field in Waipahu Saturday, promising surrounding park improvements and a closer watch on the area.
People in the community say they are concerned about the problems away from the field, where the restroom areas can get sketchy at night.
But after nearly five months of improvements, the Hawaii Pacific University Sharks baseball team finally took the field.
“All the boys are fired up this year,” said player Sean Collins. “We knew it took a lot of great time and effort and money, and we are just very appreciative of what we got.”
Parents of some of the players say they love coming to the games, but the area surrounding the restrooms in Hans L’Orange Park could be better lit. “I think if they just made sure that the bathrooms were free and clear, no one hanging out inside, that would be nice,” said Bob Fram.
Before work was done of the field, there was a lot of ponding on the uneven playing surface.
“Over time, where the dirt erodes and water builds up, obviously it becomes a difficult playing surface to play on,” said baseball coach Garett Yukumoto. “With the improvements, it makes it a lot more manageable.”
Some of the improvements include new turf, new bases, leveling of the field, and an upgraded irrigation timer system on a timer. There are also new foul poles.
The total cost for the project was $344,000.
Robert Kroning, director of the Department of Design and Construction said there is an annual bulk fund of around $1.5 million, “so this was a portion of that bulk fund. It was within budget, so there was no specific amount set aside just for this park.”
The city plans on fixing the damage near the restrooms next week, and there are plans to clean them up in the next six months.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also said they are looking into a park patrol to monitor the area. “We are going to be meeting with the police to ask if they could help step it up, not just driving by, but getting out and going into the restrooms and keeping bad things from happening.”
The city said it’s been 21 years since any big improvements were done to Hans L’Orange Park.