Several media outlets are reporting that both state and city officials in Hawaii are looking to move forward with $18.4 million plans to replace the 86-year-old Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium with a public beach, while also restoring the façade of the memorial. However, funding for the project remains in the air, according to reports.
According to HawaiiNewsNow.com, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Tuesday the plan is to demolish the salt water pool and grandstands and build a new public beach with a parking lot, bathrooms and showers. It would cost $69.4 million to restore the crumbling pool decks, officials said. The facade, which was built as a monument to Hawaii's World War I veterans, would be restored and moved about 50 feet to make way for the beach. The governor and the mayor each made it clear there will not be any commercial activity on the site.
The Natatorium in Waikiki was built in 1927 as a tribute to those who served in World War I, according to HawaiiNewsNow.com. Then it closed in 1979. There has been plenty of fighting about what to do with the site since then. In the meantime the facility has been disintegrating into the ocean.
According to media reports, The Friends of the Natatorium group opposes the plan and wants the pool and memorial rebuilt. While the group admits it has limited resources it plans to fight the plan in court.
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