Friday, April 30, 1999

Parking solution
stalls again at
Aloha Tower

Legislators deny a state request
to condemn Irwin Park land
to pave the way for developers

By Jerry Tune


State legislators have refused to condemn Irwin Park land to make way for much-needed parking at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

House and Senate conferees earlier this week dropped a state request to condemn a half-acre of land fronting the marketplace so that developers could build an underground, 520-stall parking garage that would be topped with a new park.

The Senate had favored parking at Piers 10-11 but the House had favored the parking at Irwin Park. However, on Wednesday the House conferees headed by Rep. Robert Herkes (D-Kau-Puna) and the Senate conferees headed by Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D-N.Hilo) agreed to take out the park reference in House Bill 1028.

The Legislature is telling the state administration to resolve the issue with the Irwin Foundation.

Helene Irwin Fagan, daughter of early 1900s sugar magnate William B. Irwin, donated a half-acre to the state in 1930 under an agreement that the land would be used as part of a larger park.

The San Francisco-based Irwin Foundation, headed by William Irwin's grandson William L. Olds Jr., has refused to agree to the developer's plan, contending it violates the 1930 agreement.

The agreement called for the half-acre donation to revert back to the Irwin family if the land were not used as a park. The state owns the remaining part of the two-acre park, which is currently part open space and part tree-lined parking lot with 118 spaces.

Attorneys for the state and the developer have contacted the Irwin family heirs and their attorney but no one is talking about any possible compromise. Olds could not be reached for comment.

Other options for the new parking remain, including at Piers 5-6 and Piers 10-11.

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