HPD, Weed & Seed, Honolulu lawmakers, skate community create partnership

Community members remove layers of graffiti, age from A'ala Park

 UPDATED 6:47 PM HST Jun 24, 2013
HONOLULU -

“It's fun here,” said 11-year-old Aaron Kono-Yagi.

“I’ve made a lot of friends since the first time I came here. So, it’s cool,” he said, giving his stamp of approval.

He’s been working on his kick-flip and happy to help out with A'ala Park's much needed face-lift.
 
“This hasn't been really painted since 2004 or 2005. Since then, it's pretty much been left alone,” said George Kumpis, a skateboarder and mortgage broker.
 
“By cleaning up this park it shows we all care, and they can take pride in what they're doing,” said Honolulu Police officer Gordon Gomes Jr.
 
The Honolulu Police Department’s Community Policing Unit, Weed and Seed, city workers, lawmakers, and the skateboard community came together to clean up the popular skate park, give it a fresh coat of paint, and send a message to others.
 
“It’s very popular and also very visible. We have some major thoroughfares going through here.

It has been with all the graffiti a blight on the community. Once it got to Major Caldwell it rose in his list of priorities,” said Shawn Hamamoto, City & County of Honolulu community specialist.
 
In the 1970s, A’ala Park was used as a roller skating ring, but it didn't take long for the skateboarders to realize it was a fun place for them to be, too.

Over the years, they put a lot of time and effort into making it someplace fun for the community.
 
“It means a lot to us to be able to paint it and protect the park and make a place that's friendly for people to skateboard, said Kumpis.
 
“I like skateboarding, because it's fun and you get to be free and it's fun learning new things,” said Kono-Yagi. 

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