Re: Short Term Memorial Loss

Honolulu Magazine

“Short Term Memorial Loss,” August 2004
A. Kam Napier’s Afterthoughts proposing a memorial to the crumbling Natatorium, should it fall.

Since your article, the Harris administration has announced plans to spend $6.1 million to repair the Natatorium seawalls and pool deck. The 10-month project will not create a new swimming pool. When the project is completed, the complex will again be locked up.

With the help of ocean engineers, we have a plan that will save millions of tax dollars and protect this valuable public recreation area from commercialization. With our plan, a memorial beach would replace the memorial swimming pool. New, low-profile groins would be placed at either end of the old swimming pool to stabilize sand, creating a new beach adjacent to Kaimana Beach.

Makua of the existing structure would site a moved or recreated memorial arch, bathrooms, lifeguard office and memorial areas for the Veterans of World War I and for Duke Kahanamoku and the swimming heroes of the 1920s and ’30s.

Imagine swimming across Kaimana Beach, through the existing Natatorium pool and into the already dredged channel that leads to the Queen’s Surf groin, all the while being only 100 feet from shore. This 500-yard channel will surely become the premier ocean swim course in Hawai‘i.

[The city’s recent report on the Natatorium reveals that the work] that was completed four years ago, and cost $4.4 million, has failed. The Kaimana Beach Coalition believes that spending $6.1 million on this project is throwing goos money after bad. As taxpayers, we should express our concerns by letting our City Council members know how we feel. We believe our memorial beach plan shows proper respect for our honored veterans, swimming heroes, historical preservationists and the community-at-large.

Rick Bernstein
Kaimana Beach Coalition

Napier replies: My Afterthoughts characterized the Kaimana Beach Coalition as opposing any aspect of the Natatorium’s survival. That was incorrect.