Options for future of Natatorium remain under consideration
What ever happened to the city's plans for the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium?
Answer: The city Department of Design and Construction is still studying possible options for the decaying 80-year-old structure, including leaving it as is or fully restoring it.
Department officials say they expect to release the study's findings and recommendations, which include the cost, benefits and disadvantages of about six alternatives, either next year or in early 2009.
"In the planning study, we have to cover the whole of range of alternatives so the best decision could be made," said Facilities Design Chief Clifford Lau.
Other alternatives include relocating the memorial wall and partial or complete removal of a saltwater pool.
The study was delayed while waiting for federal funding of $150,000 to have the Army Corps of Engineer study the shoreline surrounding the memorial. The city also budgeted $150,000 for the planning study that began around March.
The city's attempts to restoring the memorial for Hawaii's World War I veterans has been lined with controversy, with some former and current City Council members and community groups objecting to the millions of dollars in expenses in addition to the development of the surrounding beach. Other organizations are calling for the memorial's full restoration.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann scrapped a $6.1 million emergency repair project when taking office in January 2005 after legal obstacles stopped work on the saltwater pool as part of an $11.5 million full restoration plan by the Harris administration.
The Natatorium's saltwater pool remains closed, the restrooms have been reopened and one portion of the area is used by ocean safety workers.
The Natatorium closed permanently in 1979 because it was not properly maintained, with rusting towers and murky waters in the pool. It originally opened in 1927.
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