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Grassy area was never meant to be archers' lot


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POSTED: Friday, May 01, 2009

Question: Why is vehicular access to the archery range at Central Oahu Regional Park suddenly forbidden? Supervisors there spoke of illegal dumping and drug use going on next to the range but are unsympathetic to working with archers to find a better solution. Why deny law-abiding park users access? Wouldn't increased police patrols be a better alternative to making elderly and handicapped archers walk nearly a mile or more to the range?

Answer: The grassy area in question was never meant to be a permanent parking lot, much less a lot for archers, said Lester Chang, director of the city Department of Parks and Recreation.

It is opened to handle excess parking during major swimming meets, for example, but is off limits the rest of the time, he said.

For readers unfamiliar with the park, the archery range is located behind the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, and the two facilities share a parking lot.

“;The archery parking lot is where it always is,”; Chang said.

He said park staff had received complaints about people driving into the grassy “;auxiliary area.”;

Additionally, “;We were getting a lot of complaints about drug activity and whatnot because people want to get back there — it's a pretty broad area — but there's really no reason to be back there, except maybe for a little convenience for the archery people,”; he said.

Chang also said park staff notified a group of archers about the plan to ban parking in that area.

The archers elected representatives to discuss some ideas, he said, and the decision to have archers park in their designated parking lot was made after those discussions.

The decision to ban parking on the grass “;was not a surprise,”; he said.

Auwe

Several times a week, my husband and I ride our bikes from our home to Central Oahu Regional Park. As we are riding through, we notice on almost every occasion people parking on the grass. It is not for loading or unloading because the vehicles are here when we arrive and when we return at least an hour later. We thoroughly enjoy that park and think it is beautiful, and would hate for it to start deteriorating because people abuse it. Who can we take this issue to? — Waipio Gentry Resident

Parks officials are concerned as well about people jumping curbs to park on the grass all over Central Oahu Regional Park — not to mention at other city parks — some going so far as to break barriers to park.

The problem is that once one vehicle parks on the grass, other drivers think it's OK to do so, said Parks Director Lester Chang. It's not only a matter of protecting the grass so people can enjoy the open space and greenery, but a safety consideration.

“;We strongly, strongly discourage people from parking on the grass,”; he said. At Central Oahu Regional Park, “;we've informed HPD, as necessary.”;

But calling police is a last resort, so “;we're just asking for everyone's kokua ... to look after (the park) so it's good for everybody's use.”;

Certain vehicles are allowed on the grass, but that would be by permit or permission only, Chang said.

Next time you see illegal parking or anything related to Central Oahu Regional Park, he said to call the department's District 5 office at 677-8849.

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