Officials show park damage blamed on homeless campers
October 21, 2017 | 76° | Check Traffic

Hawaii News

Officials show park damage blamed on homeless campers

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Garett Kamemoto, spokesman for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, gives an update on the damage found at Kakaako Waterfront Park.

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Water damage found at Kakaako Waterfront Park.

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Electrical damage found at Kakaako Waterfront Park.

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Garett Kamemoto, spokesman for the Hawaii Community Development Authority, shows the modifications the homeless made to an electrical box.

Walking through the closed Kakaako Waterfront Park on Thursday, a spokesman for the Hawaii Community Development Authority pointed to a broken sprinkler head leaking water.

Less than 5 feet away, electrical wires hung exposed from the bottom of a light pole where a metal cover had been removed.

“This is definitely a shock hazard,” said authority spokesman Garett Kame­moto.

Full damage assessments might take a while to complete, but repairs to dozens of broken fixtures and other vandalism throughout Kakaako Waterfront, Gateway and Kewalo Basin parks will total an estimated $500,000.

The state agency indefinitely closed the three parks Sunday, citing safety concerns following reports of dog attacks, fires and vandalism blamed on growing numbers of homeless people camping along the waterfront.

The damage is disheartening, Kamemoto said Thursday as he walked through the park with the media.

At Kakaako Waterfront alone so far, the stage agency has discovered damage to 38 light poles, 21 light fixtures, 12 electrical boxes and seven water fixtures such as sprinkler heads, sinks, water fountains and a backflow preventer.

Kamemoto said he anticipates more damage may be discovered when contractors conduct a full assessment.

A debris cleanup began Monday morning and finished Thursday. Among the items left behind by the homeless were three air-conditioning units and a small refrigerator.

A deputy sheriff has been stationed daily at the gate to Kakaako Waterfront since Sunday night.

There’s been no estimate of when the three parks will reopen. Kamemoto said the agency hopes to get stepped-up enforcement of park closure hours.

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