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As is the case is most metropolitan areas, Honolulu is trying to figure out what to do with its homeless people. Part of the dilemma has resulted in major improvements to beautiful, 500-acre Kapiolani Park, which is located between Diamond Head and Waikiki.
Kapiolani Park was created by King Kalakaua in the 1870’s. A lot of its exceptional trees date back more than 100 years. It encompasses the 42-acre Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Shell, Sunday Art Shows, a tennis complex, soccer fields, an archery range, and a three-mile jogger’s course that includes a portion of the Honolulu Marathon course.
Local families as well as visitors enjoy the shady picnic sites and open grassy areas. The Royal Hawaiian Band provides free concerts every Sunday afternoon on the park’s bandstand.
Honolulu officials have launched a new effort to clean up the park, which will have the ancillary effect of evicting the homeless people who have relocated there following their having been pretty successfully removed from the beaches, Downtown Honolulu, Chinatown and the rest of Waikiki.
The four-stage park renovation is in response to a rising “level of anxiety” among both visitors and residents who have been worried about safety, sanitation and security due to the presence of homeless people.
Beach pavilions will be closed from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. for daily cleaning. For the next month, the ocean-front grass area in Kapiolani Park between the Waikiki Aquarium and Kapiolani Beach Center will be closed and refurbished.
Upcoming renovations will include the grass areas around the Queen’s Surf beach, the Waikiki War Memorial and the Kapiolani Bandstand.
And, beginning March 30, there will be temporary closures for the painting and repair of comfort stations and pavilions along the Beach and in Kapiolani Park. Each closure should last about one week.
Beginning April 20 and lasting indefinitely, areas of the park mauka (toward the mountains) of Kalakaua Avenue will be closed from midnight until 5:00 a.m., including the tennis courts; and areas makai (toward the ocean) of Kalakaua Avenue will be closed from 2:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
The police are enforcing the new program by ticketing people who do not abide by the closures and arresting them if necessary, and night sleeping in the park has been banned.
What’s happening, of course, is that the city is sweeping its homeless problem to some other location, not solving it.
But while you’re vacationing on Oahu and thinking of spending some pleasant time in a lovely park, Kapiolani Park will be at its very best for your visit.
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