plan moves ahead
A City Council committee
approves a permit for
revamping the facilities
Mirikitani proposes 'Japantown,' 'Koreatown'By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Richard Brock says educational programs are essential to keep the fragile reefs of Hanauma Bay alive.
Brock, of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant program, yesterday urged a City Council committee to approve a renovation plan for bay facilities so the educational programs can start.
Sea Grant is performing a study to determine how many people can go to Hanauma Bay without degrading resources.
The Zoning Committee approved a special management area use permit for Mayor Jeremy Harris' plan to revamp facilities at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, despite the objections of opponents.
The $10 million plan calls for construction of a new marine education center, administrative offices, snack bar, restrooms and a gift shop at the town end of the upper park area.
The existing snack bar and snorkel concession and restrooms at the lower park would be demolished. New facilities, minus the snack bar, would be moved more inland and would be less visible.
Kelly Washino of the East Honolulu Community Coalition said $2.5 million was generated in entry fees and other charges last year and $1.7 million was used there for maintenance. The remainder was spent on other parks in East Honolulu, she said.
The coalition protested the project at a sign-waving along Kalanianaole Highway last night.
Washino said the renovation will add employees, debt service and other costs and leave little money for emergencies at Hanauma.
David Matthews, another coalition member, said the city should wait until the Sea Grant study is completed in the next year.
He said park managers shouldn't use so much of the main facility for offices, and contended the plan should earmark more than 4,000 square feet of the 11,000-square-foot facility for an educational center.
As for the large administrative space, park manager Alan Hong said more area is necessary because the entrance cashier area is being incorporated.
Members of the Friends of Hanauma Bay endorsed the plan, calling it long overdue and vital to the preserve's future.
In the end, Council members agreed.
"At least they have the willingness to work on a financial plan," said Councilman John Henry Felix, who represents the East Honolulu region.
Councilman Duke Bainum said he's troubled by a "divided environmental community" that is split on the project.
Ultimately, he said, his decision to endorse the project was swayed by the fact that most of those who have volunteered and supported the bay the longest are for the improvements.
Mirikitani proposesStar-Bulletin staff
Chinese Americans in Hawaii have Chinatown named in their honor.
If City Councilman Andy Mirikitani has his way, Moiliili would become "Japantown" while the Ala Moana-Keeaumoku area would be "Koreatown."
Resolutions calling for Japan and Korean cultural districts were pushed out of Mirikitani's Planning Committee yesterday.
Mirikitani noted that the Moiliili-lower University region is rich in cultural heritage and history involving Japanese Americans.
Today it's home to the Japanese Cultural Center, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, the 442nd Veterans Club and other organizations and businesses vital to the preservation of the Japanese culture.
Meanwhile, Korean Americans have clustered businesses, churches and community facilities in the Keeaumoku/Makaloa/Kanunu region, Mirikitani said.
Mirikitani wants to have the city encourage retention and creation of Japanese- and Korean-related businesses and facilities, ethnic-style structures, signs and graphics, and cultural events.