(BIVN) – Bolo Mikiela Rodrigues took the stage twice during the July 4th Malama ‘Aina For The Keiki event organized by county Democrats; one time to sing, the other to talk about his ongoing efforts to cleanup Kona.
Rodrigues, a well known musician in West Hawaii, intensified the effort to take care of the troubled Old Kona Airport area three months ago, when he returned home from touring in order to help take care of his father, who developed dementia.
“I started a petition called Save Old Airport,” Rodrigues told the crowd, “and because of all what’s been happening with the homelessness, with the vagrancy… we needed to bring light to everything. If you need help, we need to bring light to that. We need to bring light to the ones who are causing trouble. We need to bring light to all of these things that that go hand in hand.”
“We did a beach cleanup March 4,” Rodrigues said. “We got a thousand people to come out. In essence, they gave the county back almost quarter of a million dollars worth of work in that day.”
It was during the cleanup that many got a first hand view of the growing homeless encampment at Old Kona Airport beach park. Bolo has been documenting the situation in the weeks since, and advocating for a solution.
Another cleanup was planned for April 19 / 20, but was cancelled. The homeless people camping at the park “would have been asked to leave prior to and during the park closure and clean up, but if an alternative site were not provided, they may have returned after the park clean up and reopening,” the county stated.
Rodrigues said he was “very disappointed” to hear the news of the postponement, but he said “we will not stop moving forward with Malama Pono.”
Now, a new cleanup date has been set for August 9 and August 10.
“We’re going to close this beach down,” Rodrigues announced, “and we’re going to need some help here, to help the community and help the county clean up.”
UPDATE (July 12 at 1:30 p.m.) – The County of Hawaii confirmed the cleanup dates in a media release:
The Department of Parks and Recreation will be closing the Old Airport Park in Kona from 7:00 am on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10, 2017, to facilitate community clean-up efforts.
Anyone camping at or using the park is being asked to leave prior to and during the park closure and clean up. Under Hawai‘i County Code (Section 15-39), camping in the park will not be allowed after the park clean up.
“Social service agencies, County Office of Housing and Community Development, Parks and Recreation personnel, and Hawai‘i Police Department are actively making site visits, and notifying people camping at the park about transitional/emergency shelters around the island,” said Charmaine Kamaka, Director of Parks and Recreation.
Various County departments, community groups, organizations and individuals are assisting with the clean-up event, and Parks and Recreation is seeking volunteers to help with clean-up efforts.