HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some members of the community are asking for certain parks to close overnight or close earlier in order to curb illegal activities. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department said it is gathering input from neighbors as it considers new closing times.
Kailua Beach Park closes its parking lot and restrooms from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the park grounds do not have a closing time, and despite camping not being allowed at the park, some people are overstaying their welcome.
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The Kailua Neighborhood Board Chair Bill Hicks said they are putting a motion forward to close the rest of the park overnight with the intent to help enforce overnight camping violations.
Hicks said, “Because the park itself is not closed overnight HPD did not feel there was anything they could cite.”
The City’s Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson Nate Serota said they are hearing from neighbors before adjusting hours of operation. He said access to the beach will remain uninterrupted.
Serota said, “It is very important to note that even with beach parks or other park facilities that have closure hours, you can still traverse any park when it is closed primarily to access things like the ocean. The ocean is always open.”
One’ula Beach Park started closing overnight a couple of years ago for similar reasons.
Fox said, “Curfews shouldn’t be a thing for the beach especially if something people grew up for generations coming out here fishing.”
Some residents said they have seen improvements at Hau Bush, but homelessness continues to be a persistent issue. People return to camp soon after HPD officers conduct sweeps at the park. They said it is an issue that will take more to resolve than just closing hours.
HPD said officers do periodic checks at parks at night, and they have received fewer calls for service at Hau Bush. The department has a clean-up scheduled for next month.
Meanwhile, Senator Maile Shimabukuro said people who live near Lualualei Beach Park also want changes to the park’s hours.
“The complaints center around many different activities from illegal activities, camping and parties that go on into the wee hours of the morning,” Shimabukuro said. “They want it to be closed even earlier, like at 8 p.m. since it’s right in a residential neighborhood.”
Shimabukuro said this will likely be a community discussion at the neighborhood board.
Shimabukuro said, “I can see from the residents point of view, to close it earlier. But at the same time, it’s good that you know, if this is something that the neighborhood board is willing to consider. It’s because it’ll help you for at a public forum, to hear from all sides.”
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Hicks said the discussion related to the Kailua Beach Park hours of operation was tabled until their August meeting. He said they want ample time to address questions and concerns from the community.