Task force to put forth Natatorium suggestions


POSTED: Thursday, September 24, 2009

A task force convened by Mayor Mufi Hannemann to study options for the aging Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is scheduled to decide on a recommendation at a public hearing today.

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the mayor's third-floor conference room at Honolulu Hale.

The 17-member task force was convened in May and has held a series of public meetings to weigh various options for the 82-year-old structure where Duke Kahanamoku once swam laps.

Hannemann has said he is considering demolishing the pool—which the city closed in 1979—and moving the familiar 100-ton archway and its four stone eagles to a location such as Central Oahu Regional Park.

Members of the task force representing preservation groups say they will support a plan to immediately stabilize the structure.

Friends of the Natatorium, the Historic Hawaii Foundation and the Oahu Veterans Council also will call for planning to redesign, rehabilitate and restore the Natatorium, the Friends of the Natatorium said yesterday.

“;They will call for planning for a public-private partnership to operate and maintain the restored Natatorium over the long term,”; the group said. “;The coalition of task force members cites strong economic, legal, historical and moral arguments for its preservation and restoration.”;

Other options include razing the structure to create a beach or aquarium, restoring the shoreline or doing nothing.

Last month, the Friends of the Natatorium presented the task force with a letter from the National Trust for Historic Preservation saying that restoring and preserving the basic structure of the Natatorium was the city's “;best option.”;