Is the Mayor of Honolulu playing favorite when it comes to funding parks around O’ahu?
That's what a Honolulu City Councilwoman claims.
One'ula Beach Park has unspoiled views of Oahu's south shore, and is within walking distance from thousands of homes in Ewa Beach.
But on a holiday with beautiful weather, only a few families gathered on its sandy shores, while the park's fields remained empty.
"I've talked to neighbors and other families, they all just avoid this beach because they don't feel safe. It is unfortunate because it is a beautiful beach park and we don't have many beach parks in the Ewa Beach area," said Ocean Point resident Wendy Leslie.
One'ula doesn't have crowds of park users but it does have crowds of homeless campers, along with piles of trash, and vandalized vehicles parked in lots. It is also a challenge for those who want to drive in. Recent rain turned the potholed parking lots into small lakes.
"If you have no 4X4 truck, it would be hard to come through here. So maybe they could pave it for people to drive through. It would be a little better," said Ewa Beach resident Delson Nicol.
Over the past three years, the Honolulu City Council approved more than $3 million to fix up the park. Money that could go toward installing security lighting, adding fences and putting in an irrigation system.
But so far, no capitol improvement funds have been spent. Councilwoman Kymberly Pine blames Mayor Kirk Caldwell, "It is a disgrace how the administration has not released funds to improve the area."
She is especially upset because over that same time, tens of millions of dollars have been set aside and used to make additional improvements to Ala Moana Beach Park.
"it is unacceptable to me that we treat other parks and people differently than the people and parks on the west side," added Pine.
The City and County of Honolulu recently fixed up the bathrooms at One'ula, but park users said that led to homeless residents returning once they had some place to go.
"We used to come here all the time, but as the homeless tents started building up, along with the trash and stray dogs, we just didn't feel safe coming here anymore," stated Leslie.
Some want the park to stay the same, so beaches will remain uncrowded. But others want the city to fix up One'ula Beach Park so it can be enjoyed by everyone.
"it is beautiful to come out here. Maybe they could do some upkeep of the park, and make it safer for the kids," added Nicol.
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