Uncle Billy’s has attracted squatters, homeless people and drug addicts since its closure in 2017.
Uniformed officers with guns drawn swarmed the rundown Uncle Billy’s Hotel and Resort in downtown Hilo early Wednesday, searching for people who were evading the law or illegally staying there.
The dawn raid by more than three dozen officers netted two arrests and 10 citations for trespassing at the condemned building on Banyan Drive, a once-thriving waterfront corridor that has fallen on hard times.
The coordinated raid involved officers from the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Department of Public Safety’s Sheriff Division and Hawaii Police Department.
Jason Redulla, who heads DOCARE, warned anyone thinking about returning to the abandoned hotel to stay away.
“Anyone staying in Uncle Billy’s is subjecting themselves to serious injury due to obstructions, hanging wires, filthy conditions and fire,” Redulla said in a news release.
Uncle Billy’s is located on state land. It closed in 2017 and suffered a major fire in March 2022. DLNR now owns what’s left but doesn’t have the funds to demolish it.
DLNR has asked the Legislature for at least $12.5 million for demolition of the building.
Meanwhile, the state land board “has not taken up any action for future plans,” said DLNR spokesperson Madison Rice.
DLNR has contract security services on the property during nighttime hours, the release says, and is considering additional security measures, such as perimeter fencing and lighting.
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