Wednesday, February 7, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Kailua neighbors determined to keep area clean

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward Bureau

KAILUA — Residents on Old Kalanianaole Highway are using beauty to fight blight.

Encouraged by recent city progress to control speeding, illegal activities and dumping in the neighborhood by increasing police patrols, installing signs and cleaning the area, residents have organized to ensure continued success. They have formed a Neighborhood Watch program and are planning beautification projects that they hope will stop illegal dumping of trash, construction material and tree trimmings.

Their primary target is a 30-foot gully near the Waimanalo entrance to the Norfolk Pines subdivision, which the city cleaned twice since neighbors complained about problems last August. The site is ideal for dumping. Drivers can pull off the road, back up to the gully and discard their trash.

"We’re working against that broken window theory," said resident Lori Baker, alluding to the belief that people tend to damage more windows on a building that already has a broken window. "Once one person dumps in an area, everyone feel it’s OK. We’re trying to plug the window."

Two months after the city cleaned the gully, the area became half filled with trash, Baker said. While the city was willing to clean the area again, neighbors decided they needed to find a way to discourage dumpers. Their solution was to build a berm near the gully, construct a fence in front of the berm and landscape the area.

The city has built a berm that’s about 100 foot long in front of the gully, on the mauka side of the road. On the other side of the road where the gully continues, an automobile rested about 20 feet down the bank yesterday, along with other trash.

Fence construction could start this week, Baker said. Neighbors have pitched in, offering money, labor and tools. The city has promised to contribute plant material from its nursery in Ewa, she said.

Once the area is landscaped, Baker said she expects the culprits to move to another site, and neighbors will improve that site as well.

"We’re trying to outsmart them," she said. "You can fix one area, then they go to another and we’ll fix those too and pretty soon they just go away."

The Kailua Neighborhood Board has worked with the community and the city to improve Norfolk, said board member Terry Carroll. Norfolk residents have cleaned the area and are keeping track of visitors to the neighborhood, calling police at the first sign of trouble.

"It’s really nice to work with a community that doesn’t always request government to do everything or to be all and end all," Carroll said. "They’ve gotten down in the trenches and gotten their hands dirty."

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