Waialua park left in the dark

Community members on Oahu’s North Shore say they’ve been left in the dark, literally.

Several lights at Waialua District Park were removed because of safety concerns, and never replaced. It’s been that way for a while, but the city council took action this week.

The chair of the North Shore Neighborhood Board told KHON2 the lack of lighting is impacting the youth and adult sports teams who use the park for practice.

Councilmember Ernie Martin said lights were removed from the baseball field and swimming pool a while ago after an inspection found the poles were corroded.

“Luckily [during] summertime we have a little more daylight hours. In the wintertime is really when it’s a huge impact on our community because it gets dark so much earlier,” Michael McNeace, neighborhood board parks chair, said.

Michael McNeace said youth sporting practices have been affected and sometimes even canceled because of the issue.

“[With] the swimming pool lights not working, the high school does not have a proper safe place to practice,” McNeace said. “Our junior softball, our junior baseball, our junior football are using the field at night because that’s when our community has time to be out. We really want our lights fixed as soon as possible,” McNeace explains.

Martin said city council unanimously voted this week to approve funds to replace the lights.

“Our parks itself is the true treasures of the City and County of Honolulu,” Martin said.

The cost for new lights is $4 million.

Martin said council had approved funds once before.

“The administration did not move forward with the project,” Martin said. “They had a concern because we would be using bond funds which is essentially borrowed money which we do for all capital improvement projects.”

Martin and McNeace said they’re hopeful things will work out this time around.

“Sports are a big part of our community and we want to nurture our sporting any chance we get,” McNeace said.

“There is the ability to get this done sooner rather than later and I think that’s what all of us are hopeful for,” Martin said.

If the Mayor decides to move forward with the funding for new lights, the money could be available as early as July 1.

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