City outlines potential options for future of Waikiki Natatorium


What should happen to the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial?

Construction was completed in 1927 as a memorial to honor veterans of World War I.

But over the past several decades, the facility fell into disrepair. It’s been closed to the public since 1979, and is considered a public health and safety issue for beachgoers and marine life.

On Monday, city officials outlined several possibilities for the landmark’s future.

An environmental impact statement (EIS) is underway with a completed draft scheduled by summer 2018.

Its purpose is to recommend projects to renew the memorial and re-establish full public access to the area.

“We’ve been making steady progress with the EIS and the process is working,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Through this process, and the consultations it requires, we’ve developed four alternatives to address the long neglected memorial. An additional alternative has recently been added, which looks promising. We’re labeling it Alternative 2 and it consists of a flow through perimeter deck where the original, crumbling deck is now.”

The four alternatives proposed for the site include:

Alternative 1 – Closed Pool System

  • Reconstructs and restores the Natatorium in general accordance with the 1998 plans, except for the ocean-fed pool design.
  • Ocean-fed pool qualifies as a public swimming pool and would be subject to health provisions.
  • Estimated cost $40 million to $60 million.

Alternative 2 – Perimeter Deck

    • Retains the bleachers, arches, and reconstructs the pool deck in the same location but on new supports.
    • Large lengths of the seawall below the deck level would be removed, allowing the free flow of water between the swim basin and ocean.
    • Estimated cost $20 million to $30 million.
  • Additional renderings below.

Alternative 3 – Beach

  • Creates a war memorial beach between constructed groins with the removal of all structures built seaward of the 1927 shoreline.
  • Replica memorial arch would be aligned with the existing Roll of Honor plaque with construction of a new bathhouse, replacement offices for Ocean Safety, removal of the existing roadway and construction of a new parking lot.
  • Estimated cost $20 million to $30 million.

Alternative 4 – Debris Removal

  • All structures would remain in place with some debris removal and limited access to the public in the event of a collapse.
  • Estimated cost $2 million to $4 million.

“It needs to be done for a lot of different reasons. One, the historic value of this structure, the fact that it sits right on the ocean in the heart of Waikiki at the foot of Diamond Head,” Caldwell said. “The EIS is something that is important, because it gets the input from the community, and we address the various impacts both positive and negative on many of the alternatives that we may take.”

Following the draft, public hearings are anticipated for fall 2018 with the publication of the final EIS scheduled in spring 2019.

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