Ala Moana Park has some problems. Everybody knows that. We’ve been hearing a lot about planned improvements, including new security personnel.
The City and County of Honolulu has begun planting 44 new trees in the park along Ala Moana Boulevard.
New trees are great, but other park plans are controversial, such as removing parking stalls near the beach as part of a “huge makeover.”
All these changes are being proposed as fancy new condominiums, restaurants, and shops are being built right across the street.
Has Ala Moana Park been allowed to deteriorate so that there will be less resistance to redeveloping it as a playground for the new rich neighbors? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a little of both.
But it’s clear that the park and the surrounding area have deteriorated badly. The ridiculous situation on nearby “Vagrant Island” had become symbolic of the growing chasm that separates Honolulu’s rich and poor, and the failure of authorities to improve that situation or even remove the vagrants and trash from the traffic island.
Meanwhile, homeless people and other illegal campers are spread all around the park itself, and authorities can’t seem to consistently enforce rules closing the park to everyone after 10 p.m.
It sure seems like the problems have become worse as authorities crack down in nearby Waikiki.
So for now, Ala Moana Park has an uneasy mix of recreational users and hard-core homeless, including some serious druggies.
And authorities just can’t get their act together on the outrageous potholes in the park.
Has Ala Moana Park been allowed to deteriorate? You be the judge.
Will the new plans make the park better? It’s really hard to tell, and it may very well depend on who you are and what you consider “better.”