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Saturday, February 24, 2001

City & County of Honolulu

Mansho backs
youth center at
Baywatch site

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

North Shore Councilwoman Rene Mansho wants the upper level of the Haleiwa Surf Center -- recently vacated by the television series "Baywatch Hawaii" -- to be transformed into a North Shore Youth Center.

When the internationally syndicated show first came to Hawaii in 1999, the state allocated about $900,000 to build a second story on the existing city surf center fronting Haleiwa Alii Beach Park to serve as the fictional headquarters for the Baywatch Hawaii training team.

During the shooting, the lower level continued to serve as a storage area for rescue craft belonging to the city Ocean Safety Division.

The second-story structure was built as a production set and does not conform to the city building code, Mansho said, but she believes slight renovations can make the facility usable for the public.

Mansho said she expects organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, the Girl and Boy Scouts, the YMCA and area schools to use a renovated facility for recreational activities and classes.

The resolution, which will be heard Wednesday afternoon in the Council Community Services and Parks Committee, includes having the administration of Mayor Jeremy Harris come up with a plan for converting the facility and then doing an assessment to determine potential users.

Carol Costa, spokeswoman for Mayor Jeremy Harris, said he had not seen the proposal and could not comment.

When "Baywatch" officials announced earlier this month that they were closing, an official with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism suggested the Haleiwa facility could be used for other film productions.

Department officials could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

Ken Newfield, a member of the North Shore Neighborhood Board, said the prospect of a youth center sounds good at first glance.

The structure "was the one thing the community felt it would get out of ("Baywatch") permanently," Newfield said.

"Most people, including myself, think it's a very nice-looking structure that should remain."

City & County of Honolulu

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