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NATATORIUM SITE TO BECOME MEMORIAL BEACH
Waikiki War Memorial Complex - Mayor Kirk Caldwell was joined today by Governor Neil Abercrombie and community stakeholders to announce that the City will move forward with its plan to preserve the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium’s iconic arched entrance while removing the structure’s crumbling swimming pool and creating a new public Memorial Beach.
“The future of the Natatorium has been discussed and debated for years, and it’s time to get the job done,” Caldwell said. “The current structure is an eyesore and a safety hazard, and does not honor our veterans as intended. Preserving the arches and creating a new beach is a respectful and more economical way to resolve this situation.”
“This plan is the practical way to honor the memorial’s purpose and provide the celebration of joy and life that the memorial was originally intended to provide for all the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We’re going to show respect and we’re going to show good sense. We’ll do everything we can to coordinate, collaborate and cooperate with the City and County.”
Caldwell said that demolishing the crumbling swimming pool and deck to create a new beach and preserve the Natatorium arches would cost approximately $18.4 million. Completely restoring the Natatorium would cost more than $69 million, he said, and doing nothing is simply not an option.
The City will resume preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement which was commissioned after a City-sponsored task force of 17 veterans and other community members interested in the site’s future thoroughly evaluated various options during a series of public meetings in 2009. The group voted to recommend the type of project that the City is pursuing. Work on the EIS had been put on hold last year while the State evaluated potential alternative uses for the site.
Jesse Broder Van Dyke
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell
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