Friday, December 6, 2002

City & County of Honolulu

Waimea Falls deal
extended until July

By Diana Leone

The current operator of Waimea Falls Park will continue to run it through June as the city decides whether to pick it or a competitor to manage the park on a permanent basis.

Waimea Management Co.'s one-year contract will expire Feb. 25. The City Council voted unanimously late Wednesday night to retain the company four more months.

Waimea Management owner and General Manager Ray Greene told the Council on Wednesday that the park has been profitable since his company has been running it, but said revenue figures were "proprietary."

In February, Greene's company will pay the city more than the $100,000 that the city gave his company to subsidize care of its rare botanical collection, he said yesterday.

Proponents of the city choosing the National Audubon Society to run Waimea Falls have alleged that despite the $100,000 subsidy and the city paying the salaries of two gardeners, Greene's company has allowed valuable plant life to deteriorate over the past year.

Several people, including some former employees, urged the City Council on Wednesday to quickly choose a permanent operator for the park.

A number of them said Greene's company is not the appropriate choice because the park has deteriorated on his watch and because they do not believe he is culturally sensitive to the valley's significance to Hawaiians.

Prior to forming Waimea Management this year, Greene was general manager of the park under its former owner for four years, he said.

Greene told the Council that some people are "trying to vilify me."

Audubon has publicly stated that it would emphasize botanical, cultural, archaeological and ecosystem elements if chosen to manage the 1,875-acre park.

Greene has refused to make public his proposal for the park, saying that is inappropriate while the city is reviewing his and Audubon's proposals.

The city has set aside $5.1 million to buy the park. A court will decide in January if that payment is sufficient, said Malcolm Tom, Honolulu deputy managing director.

National Audubon Society

City & County of Honolulu

E-mail to City Desk


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