Friday, January 25, 2002

In its latest environmental report, the Navy outlined its ideas for development of Ford Island, seen here in an aerial shot.

Navy keeps sights
low for Ford Island

Its newest plan would discourage
proposals for large visitor sites

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The Navy is not envisioning construction of large historical visitor attractions on Ford Island, according to its latest environmental impact statement released this week.

The environmental report for the 450-acre island in Pearl Harbor instead would limit new private development so that there would be only 6,665 visitors to the island annually, compared with 14,968 visitors under proposals that would have maximized tourist attractions.

The report anticipates expanding the Missouri Battleship Memorial on the island. Also under consideration are restaurants and an air museum. But visitor attractions would be limited to 13 of the 75 acres set aside for private development. The remaining 62 acres would be used for light industrial activities such as research and development, and possibly a manufacturing facility for electric vehicles, ultralight aircraft and boats, according to the Navy's environmental report.

The Navy said private companies could renovate existing hangars and possibly use the island's inactive runway and harbors.

Navy housing, office space and training facilities would be built on the remaining 375 acres.

Up to 190,000 square feet of new and renovated office space would be constructed.

The daily population would increase by 2,693 employees to 2,993 and by 5,265 visitors to 6,665.

The Navy's decision to support a lower level of development for Ford Island still calls for new housing for 420 families. These structures would be single- or two-story duplex units. Higher-density townhouses along the shoreline could be developed.

The Navy report said the existing 47 family housing units would be retained, and up to 140 other housing units would be developed under a separate Navy plan.

Eventually, the island would become home to 607 Navy families.

The Navy still envisions leasing Halawa Landing, between the Bowfin Museum and the USS Arizona Memorial, and the housing units at Iroquois Point and Puuloa. It also would like to sell the Waikele branch of the Pearl Harbor Naval Magazine and some property at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station at Kalaeloa to fund the redevelopment of Ford Island.

Specifically, these proposals would mean:

>> Halawa Landing: A 65-year lease of 6.6 acres to support Ford Island's visitor attractions with a ticketing facility, visitor and employee parking, and a staging area for shuttle bus or water taxi service to the island.

>> Iroquois Point/Puuloa Housing: A 65-year lease of 390 acres that now feature 1,463 single-family and duplex housing units and a small marina for recreational boats.

>> Waikele: Sale of 515 acres, most of which are unusable because of the steep slopes of the gulches in the area. The area also consists of 120 unused munitions tunnels and 32 acres of developable land on a plateau adjacent to Waikele development.

>> Kalaeloa: Sale of 702 acres featuring 548 housing units and commercial, industrial and recreational facilities.

The golf course and horse stables at Kalaeloa would not be part of the sale.

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