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MAYOR ACCEPTS TASK FORCE PLAN TO PRESERVE NATATORIUM ARCHES, CREATE NEW BEACH SPACE,

DEMOLISH CRUMBLING POOL AND BLEACHERS

 

(Saturday, November 28, 2009) – Mayor Mufi Hannemann today announced that he will accept the recommendation of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium Task Force to preserve the historic Natatorium’s memorial arches by reconstructing them further inland, and to create additional beach space by demolishing the crumbling swimming pool and bleachers.

 

“The 17-member task force, which included several veterans, studied the history surrounding the Natatorium, heard from engineers and people with different viewpoints on the issue, examined many alternatives, and concluded that the best way to honor the memory of the men and women who served in World War I, resolve the long-standing issues over the facility’s upkeep, and meet the needs of our resident and visitors for more beach space, was to rebuild the memorial arches and demolish the aging structures,” Hannemann said.

 

            He cautioned that despite giving the go-ahead, the process would likely take many years and require completion of an environmental impact statement, and well as securing permits, completing planning and design work, and appropriating money, before physical work can begin.

 

“The entire process could take eight years or so, and there will be plenty of time for citizen input into the process,” Hannemann said. “However, it is my administration’s goal, endorsed by the task force, to cease what has been an interminable investment of tax dollars in this decaying public facility.  My decision will enable the City to proceed with the next step of developing plans and beginning the environmental impact study process.

 

“I’m very grateful to the members of the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium Task Force for their work on this endeavor, their willingness to offer their views, and their courage in making recommendations that are in the best long-term interests of the people of the City and County of Honolulu.”

 

            The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium was constructed in 1927 to honor the 101 Hawaii residents who lost their lives in World War I. It was built offshore in only five months. By 1929, the structure was experiencing problems that have continued to this day. The Natatorium was closed to the public in 1979 and deemed a safety hazard a year later.

 

            Hannemann appointed the task force in May 2009. It included representatives of various public agencies, non-profit organizations, and veterans groups. The task force held public meetings from May to September, then publicly voted on its recommendations.

 

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Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928