LEEWARD OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Human waste, buckets of needles, crime, drugs and graffiti — that’s just some of the damage that residents are reporting at parks on Oahu’s Leeward Coast.
Now, City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine is calling for an audit of Honolulu’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
She says Oneula, Nanakuli and Geiger Parks are among the list of damaged and rundown parks in her district — a sign that her district’s facilities are being neglected.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me stories how they couldn’t fix the sprinkler system, because they got pulled away to Ala Moana, or away to another area,” she told Hawaii News Now.
Ala Moana Regional Park is one of 146 city parks that have been improved under Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Kakou for Parks program.
Since its inception, the parks department has renovated 82 comfort stations, resurfaced 294 play courts and made improvements at 100 play apparatuses.
Despite the upgrades, Marcos Pine feels that other Oahu parks are not getting their fair share of care.
“We’re spending millions of dollars on a park that just so happens to have multimillion dollar condos,” she said. “So what does that say to the rest of the island? They’re not as important? They’re not owned by foreign investors, they don’t have multimillion dollar condos.”
She estimates that more than $40 million have been spent on Ala Moana Regional Park since 2013. That money has been used on renovations and for 15 new staff positions.
Nanakuli resident Ed Werner agrees that something needs to be done to better serve the West Oahu community.
“Our bathrooms are rundown at Kalanianaole, at that park. It’s rundown. We probably need one new restroom, a new changing room for our kids. Our kupuna,” Werner said. “That’s not what we got now. I mean what we got is — to tell you the truth — everybody’s rubbish on this island.”
Marcos Pine hopes an audit will provide a clearer picture of the city parks department’s expenses and ensure that parks across the island are equally maintained.
The Caldwell administration says it looks forward to discussing the resolution during a committee meeting later this week.