Multiple agencies were out at Kakaako Waterfront Park Thursday evening to enforce new hours after vandals damaged the park.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority noticed several damaged light poles last week. Officials believe they could be the result of someone trying to tap into a power source.
Kakaako has long been an area where homeless gather, and HCDA has tried on multiple occasions to move the homeless community out of the area.
In the past, crews cleared sidewalks of tents and encouraged the homeless living in Kakaako to move into nearby shelters instead. We’re told that’s still the goal this time around.
The park closes at 6 p.m. until further notice because damage to the poles has made the park dangerously dark at night.
Visitors have 30 minutes to leave the park from the time they are told, and for any homeless living in the park, a shuttle will be provided to nearby shelters.
“We’re working with the sheriff’s department. We’re working with (the Honolulu Police Department). Homeless providers will be down there to try to talk to the people who have been living in the park and try to convince them to go to a shelter,” said HCDA spokesman Garett Kamemoto. “No one can force anybody to go to a shelter. We only have the power of persuasion, but regardless, they wont be allowed to stay in the park.”
Anyone who refuses to leave the park after being told could be given a citation for violating park hours or even trespassing. So far there haven’t been any citations issued and a few in the homeless community have decided to go to a shelter.
After inspecting all poles, HCDA says it found 13 damaged poles, which will cost $6,600 to fix.
The park will continue to close early until repairs are made.