STAR-BULLETIN / 2002
Hikers continued to climb Haiku Stairs despite its closure.
Haiku Stairs fixed but access in limbo
What ever happened to plans to reopen Haiku Stairs? Hasn't it been years since repairs were completed?
Answer: It's been more than five years since former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration completed an $875,000 repair of the metal "Stairway to Heaven" on Oahu's Windward side.
When news that the stairs were repaired got out in 2002, dozens of hikers trespassed through Haiku Valley residents' yards to get to them, creating animosity from the neighborhood.
Recreational hikers used to access the base of the stairs through the Coast Guard Omega Station in Haiku Valley. City attempts to obtain access through that land via land swaps and plans to get to the stairs by other routes have failed. The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands now owns the valley floor.
It has been 20 years since the Coast Guard stopped maintaining the stairs, said John Flanigan, chairman of Friends of Haiku Stairs, a nonprofit group that supports reopening the stairs as a recreational hike.
The Navy originally built the 3,922 steps to access radio equipment on the crest of the Koolau Mountains during World War II.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said in October that the only way he would consider reopening the stairs was through a public-private partnership, with the private group taking liability responsibility.
Flanigan said his group has not met with city officials, despite requests.
City spokesman Bill Brennan said city officials expect to renew "internal" city discussions soon about what to do about the stairs. Paying a private security firm to guard access to the stairs costs about $50,000 a year, he said.
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