The city’s Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park in Kakaako, which has been overrun with homeless encampments following the closure of neighboring state parks, will be shut down from Tuesday night until Feb. 2 “for maintenance,” the city announced Friday.
The city said the closure will allow a “combination of maintenance work and a pilot project” to test anti-graffiti surface treatments intended to allow the easy removal of graffiti by simple manual scrubbing.
An estimated 50 chronically homeless people who were swept out of Kakaako Waterfront Park and its sister parks two weeks ago erected dozens of tents and shelters in nearby Mother Waldron Park and along Pohukaina Street.
Many of the homeless now living in the city’s Mother Waldron Park had been staying in one of the country’s largest homeless encampments, which sprang up in the summer of 2015 around Kakaako Waterfront Park, and have been getting swept onto private, city and state lands ever since.
The city said Friday that Mother Waldron Park will be closed to the public from 10 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Feb. 2.
In a statement, the city said maintenance work will include landscaping, irrigation system repairs, replacement of water features, aerating and fertilizing grassy areas, weeding, tree trimming and upgrades to the park’s bathroom.
“This closure will additionally provide the Department of Parks and Recreation the opportunity to test a new location for the weekly People’s Open Market at Mother Waldron, normally held Monday from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” the city said in a statement. “This open market is slated for permanent relocation due to the planned incorporation of a portion of Mother Waldron into the future Pohukaina Elementary School. During this park closure, the open market will be relocated to the Aina Moana (Magic Island) parking lot in Ala Moana Regional Park during the same time slot.
“The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public and park users for their patience while Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park is closed for maintenance,” the city said.