Abandoned church finally demolished in Palolo

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An abandoned church in Palolo is now a pile of rubble, much to the relief of neighbors.

We first told you about the eyesore after area neighbors turned to Action Line for help, saying it attracted criminal activity.

We checked on it back then and learned the property was for sale. We also brought it up with the city.

After a fire at the abandoned church last month, we followed up and that’s when things started happening.

When we looked into the problem less than two weeks ago, we learned the new owner wanted to tear it down, but the permit to demolish the church was caught up in red tape.

The day after we aired that story, the city granted the permit.

Then on Tuesday, relief came for the neighborhood. An excavator was brought in to tear down what was once St. Patrick Church and Food Outreach.

“It’s been a haven for the homeless kids that want to party, throw rocks, break glass,” said area resident Solomon Espinas.

“My dog starts barking at 7:30 every night until three in the morning because there’s always kids or homeless in the church and they tend to vandalize, no respect to the property,” said Wes Kam, who lives next door.

Kam says he wound up having to call Honolulu police to check on the property at least twice a month.

When we accompanied the Honolulu Fire Department inside the church the day after a fire broke out in the basement, we found clear signs that people had been staying there.

“I talked to our neighborhood board, City Council, representative in the Legislature,” Kam said. “Since it’s privately owned, they couldn’t do anything. It was up to the owner.”

Residents agreed that the best thing to do was tear it all down.

We learned then that the property owner had filed for a permit two months earlier, but the city sent it to the state to be reviewed because the property is more than 50 years old.

The next day, the city said it was mistaken and it did not have to be reviewed, so the permit was granted.

Area residents have never been so happy to see something destroyed. They say the property has been a magnet for criminal activity for almost 10 years.

Residents have been told that the property owner plans to build six new homes on the lot, so this eyesore will soon be a place for good neighbors.

“I think it’s pretty amazing, Manolo, that the building is finally being demolished after all these years, so we have to thank KHON,” said Darlene Nakamura with the Palolo Neighborhood Board.

“Thank you, KHON2, for your hard work. Thank you,” Kam said.

Workers say they should be finished with the demolition by Wednesday.

No word yet on how soon the owner plans to build on the property.

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