Monday, May 18, 2009

Honolulu posts ideas to replace natatorium

City weighs options to replace unsafe pool closed 30 years ago

By mary vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

May 17, 2009

A sandy beach could be created at the site of the crumbling Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium for as little as $1.7 million — not counting the cost of demolishing the monument — and with little to no effect on the surrounding shoreline, says a new city-commissioned report that weighs proposals for doing away with the landmark.

Some of the options, the report notes, could also cause "significant erosion" at adjacent Kaimana Beach.

The study, which presents seven options for creating a sandy beach at the site, comes as the city weighs what to do with the legendary saltwater pool. Conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it will be used to help make a decision. A separate study is being conducted to estimate the costs of refurbishing the natatorium, whose fate has been in limbo since it was closed for safety reasons in 1979.

The Army Corps study, which cost $300,000, lays out how the creation of a sandy beach at the site is possible using a variety of rocky structures, including T-head groins, straight groins and breakwaters.

Three of the options could result in erosion of Kaimana Beach, which the study indicates could be significant; three of the options would have no impact on Kaimana; and one of the options would not impact Kaimana but would create a sandy beach in front of the natatorium described as "unstable."