It’s all quiet on the race track now.
But bike enthusiasts are bracing for new neighbors if the state land board approves the city turning a 5-acre lot into a temporary homeless facility.
“We are really vulnerable, because we are not there all the time. If we could afford, it we would put up a fence, but we can’t afford it. We’ve gotten estimates but its way out of our budget,” said Jim Drake, one of the co-founders of the BMX Sandbox racetrack.
Drake plans to show up at a community meeting on Wednesday to hear about the city’s plans. He is understandably fearful of what’s to come.
“We have been broken into over the years and we have spent extra money on extra locks,” said Drake.
Some Sand Island businesses are taking a wait-and-see approach. They have long dealt with a homeless problem in the area.
But, some are applauding that government is trying to address the growing problem of homelessness.
“That old saying not in my back yard. But hey, they’ve got to go in somebody’s back yard. I am not against it. I am not really for it but they have go to go somewhere and the government has got to try and help them out some way,” said Sonny Borja of Sonny’s Automotive Services.
City officials are still firming up the details of what the facility will look like.
Twenty-two years ago, the state had a transitional homeless village in Haleiwa. It stood for five years before it was taken down.
But that isn’t what’s planned for the homeless at Sand Island.
“There is going to be office trailers for the providers providing counseling and rehabilitation services. There is going to be a recreational area with table and chairs for them and a canopy to protect them from the sun,” said Peter Hirai, deputy director of the city’s department of emergency management,
Hirai couldn’t say if the plans called for a tent similar to what was erected in Aala Park in 1990 by then-Mayor Frank Fasi.
“It is more of a canopy structure where they can bring their own bedding into what we didn’t want to do is make it like a tent city. We definately didn’t want to do little box partitions,” Hirai said.
“We did consult with some of the beat officers who were familiar with the Aala park tents. We took their lessons learned and plan to move forward and make this a positive experience,” said Hirai.
City officials say they will detail more of their plan at a meeting Wednesday is set for 6 p.m. at Puuhale Elementary School.