City & County of Honolulu Provides Update on Evaluation of Alternatives for Natatorium

WAIKĪKĪ WAR MEMORIAL NATATORIUM ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT TO BE READY SUMMER 2018 Four Alternatives Will Be Evaluated in EIS 12/11/2017: The City and County of Honolulu provided an update on the status of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that it is preparing to evaluate alternatives for the future of the Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium. The purpose of the EIS is to recommend projects to renew the memorial and re-establish full public access to this area of Kapi‘olani Park. Following that draft EIS, public hearings are anticipated for fall 2018 with the publication of the final EIS scheduled in spring 2019. The Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium opened in 1927 as a “living memorial” to those who served in World War I from Hawai‘i. The structure is significant for its long history as a swimming venue and its association with legendary watermen Duke Kahanamoku, Buster Crabbe and Jonny Weismuller. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for both its historic and architectural significance. It has been closed since 1979. “We’ve been making steady progress with the EIS and the process is working,” said 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.” Historic Hawai‘i Foundation submitted written comments during the pre-EIS scoping period that said the original range of alternatives was too narrow and did not include an option for rehabilitation of the historic structure. The new alternative 2, called the “Perimeter Deck” option helps meet the need for a fuller range [...]

2017-12-13T14:32:34+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Featured Homepage Top|

UPDATE on the Federal Historic Tax Credit

12/20/2017: We're pleased to share that the 20 percent federal historic tax credit (HTC) is included in the tax reform package that has now passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the President’s desk for signature. Keeping the HTC as a permanent part of the tax code is a significant victory for the preservation community—especially considering that the first House version eliminated the credit. This extraordinary success underscores the power of the credit and the broad support it has earned in the preservation community.  Its inclusion in the most expansive overhaul of our nation’s tax code in more than three decades is a reaffirmation that reviving older and historic buildings is sound federal policy and good for the nation. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) passed by Congress keeps the historic tax credit at 20 percent but requires that the credit be taken over five years instead of all at once at the time of project completion.  The legislation also repeals the 10 percent rehabilitation tax credit for non-historic buildings. While we were not able to maintain the status quo in all respects, this outcome reflects the widespread support for preserving our historic buildings from stakeholders across the country and bold leadership by several members of Congress who have long championed historic rehabilitation as a way to revitalize our communities. The Federal Historic Tax Credit is Under Threat. Find Out How You Can Help Protect It. WHAT IS IT? The Federal Historic Tax Credit (FHTC) program encourages private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings. It provides a 20% tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of historic structures and a 10% tax [...]

2017-12-21T10:58:57+00:00 October 30th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog, Featured Homepage|

Update on the Campaign to Save Lihue Post Office!

USPS ANNOUNCES DECISION TO CLOSE HISTORIC LĪHU‘E POST OFFICE 12/6/2017: The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced its final decision to close the historic post office on Rice Street in Lihue, Kaua‘i, via letter to Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho dated November 29. USPS received over a thousand written comments in opposition to the proposal to “relocate retail services” from the historic facility to the Līhu‘e Carrier Annex on Kapule Highway. Letters in opposition to the move were sent to USPS by Historic Hawai‘i Foundation, Līhu‘e Business Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Mayor Carvalho, U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Governor David Ige, State Senate President Ron Kouchi and other officials. Over 850 postcards and 116 coconut mailers were also sent to oppose the move. Many citizens and residents sent individual letters and signed an online petition to save the historic post office. Despite the overwhelming opposition of the community, USPS stated that “the Postal Service has determined that the relocation is the optimal solution to satisfy the Postal Service’s need to improve operational efficiency, and reduce the financial burdens facing the Postal Service.” At the February 23, 2017 public meeting, the USPS representative claimed that the proposed relocation was not prompted by financial concerns, but rather was in response to the need to address parking and vehicular access issues. In response, the County of Kaua‘i offered to set aside dedicated parking spaces in the Civic Center lot directly across the street from the post office with a cross walk. The County is also implementing transportation and street improvement projects that address pedestrian safety, bicycle access, vehicular safety and parking in the Līhu‘e Town Core. Although USPS claimed that it “considered community input,” the [...]

2017-12-06T09:11:05+00:00 September 12th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog, Featured Homepage|Tags: |

Honolulu Council Considering Bill to Raise Taxes on Historic Homes

Honolulu Council Bill CB52 (2017) Proposes Increase to Minimum Annual Property Tax on Historic Homes 7/7/2017:  Honolulu City Council has scheduled a public hearing on CB52 CD1 (2017) proposing to raise the annual minimum property tax for historic residences dedicated to preservation to $1000 per year. The minimum property tax for other exemption categories would remain at the current level of $300 annually. The Council hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 12 in Council Chambers at Honolulu Hale. The meeting begins at 10 a.m., with the public hearings scheduled after other matters.  The agenda is available in the sidebar to the right. Under the current tax incentive program for preserving historic homes, property owners may receive a tax exemption for the portion of the property dedicated for historic preservation, subject to conditions that include the property being listed on the Hawai‘i register of historic places, retaining the historic character, providing visual access from the public way and installing a plaque about the historic significance (ROH Sec 8-10.22). The City provides at least 24 categories for property tax exemptions to encourage and support a variety of public benefits, including historic preservation, child care centers, credit unions, slaughterhouses, industrial development, air pollution control, crop shelters, alternative energy development, public service, agriculture, kuleana lands, charitable purposes, low-income rental housing and others. If CB 52 CD1 (2017) is approved, historic residential properties and credit unions would be subject to the higher annual minimum tax rate; other exemptions that qualify under their programs would pay the lower rate. Written testimony should be submitted 24 hours in advance, by Tuesday, July 11.  It may be transmitted via internet at for distribution at the meeting or faxed [...]

2017-10-04T23:49:07+00:00 June 23rd, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog|

Update on the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium

Photo credit: David Croxford UPDATE ON THE HEARING January 19, 2017:  The City Council's Housing and Zoning Committee heard Resolution 16-311 that would urge the City administration to include a historic rehabilitation alternative in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement.  Twenty-six people submitted written testimonies in support of the resolution, including Historic Hawaii Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Two individuals, one representing a diverse group of historic and veteran-related organizations, submitted oral testimony in support of the resolution at the hearing. The Deputy Director of the Department of Design and Construction, Mark Yonamine, and Clifford Lau, Chief of the Facilities Division, represented the City & County of Honolulu in opposing the resolution.  Deputy Director Yonamine stated that the alternate proposed was too similar to a precious design that had been subject to a lawsuit and the DCC therefore felt it was a waste of time to pursue a new proposal that would lead down the same path. The main issue related to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's alternate proposal is whether it constitutes a “pool,” which would be subject to Department of Health water quality standards and operational procedures, or would be an “open ocean swim basin” that circulates the water using wave action and natural forces, which is regulated the same as the surrounding ocean waters. The Resolution was temporarily deferred by Housing and Zoning Committee Chair, Kymberly Marcos Pine.  Action taken: City Council will write a letter to the Department of Health requesting they make a determination as to whether the alternate proposed plan constitutes a “pool.”  If the DOH determines it to be a pool, Council Member Pine would not consider it appropriate to move forward and [...]

2017-04-21T01:00:52+00:00 January 16th, 2017|Categories: Advocacy, Blog|

New Concept Design Unveiled for Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium

The National Trust for Historic Preservation contributes concept proposal in efforts to rehabilitate a one-of-a-kind war memorial to the men and women of Hawaii Swim Basin Rehabilitation Concept for Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial (Design: Dr. Hans Krock) On Veterans’ Day 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its proposal for revitalizing the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium —one of the most unique structures in the country commemorating those who served and gave their lives in World War I. The rehabilitation concept, designed by Hawaii’s globally-renowned engineer Dr. Hans Krock, is a simple, innovative and long-term solution that would ensure a clean and safe swim basin for the endangered memorial. “This concept proposal is part of our ongoing commitment to develop a collaborative preservation plan that once again allows the Natatorium to operate as a vibrant aquatic facility, community resource and ‘living memorial’ to be enjoyed by future generations,” said Barbara Pahl, senior vice president of field services for the National Trust. “We’re excited to contribute an environmentally responsible alternative—protecting public health and safety—and encourage the City and County of Honolulu and Hawaii locals to take a close look at the design and the opportunity to restore one of the state’s most recognizable historic sites.” The National Trust’s concept proposal for the Natatorium is the result of a collaborative effort with local experts and preservationists, which began with the site’s National Treasures designation in May 2014. The concept, developed by Dr. Hans Krock, Emeritus Professor of Ocean and Resources Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Dr. Alfred Yee, foremost authority in the design of concrete structures and consulting engineer for Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial, addresses [...]

2017-10-04T23:49:27+00:00 November 9th, 2016|Categories: Advocacy, Uncategorized|

National Park Service Demolishes Pearl Harbor Historic Building

CPO Bungalow on Ford Island was listed as a “Most Endangered” Historic Site in 2005 In July, the National Park Service (NPS) released its report examining the facts and circumstances surrounding the demolition of a historic bungalow at World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that was present during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The original intent of the National Park Service was to rehabilitate the aging bungalow and preserve its historic setting. However, the park failed to complete required consultation with proper authorities and the bungalow was leveled to its foundation in late 2015 and replaced with a similar building earlier this year. In 2012, the National Park Service completed an environmental assessment to preserve, rehabilitate and restore the six Chief Petty Officer (CPO) bungalows on Ford Island for use by visitors and park administration. Subsequently, the National Park Service executed a programmatic agreement with the Hawaiʻi State Historic Preservation Division and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regarding the preservation of the historic CPO Bungalows. The park received funding in 2015 and began work in November 2015 on CPO Bungalow #28. While the intent was to rehabilitate the bungalow and preserve its historic setting, in actuality, the park’s work involved demolishing the historic building and constructing a new building on top of the original foundation. Some of the historic fabric from the original building such as the windows and doors were salvaged, but not reused in the new building. The demolition and construction work has resulted in an adverse effect on CPO Bungalow #28 which was a contributing resource in the United States Naval Base Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark. The report identified a lack of understanding at the [...]

2017-04-21T01:00:55+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|Categories: Advocacy|

UPDATE, May 6: Support Historic Resource Study in Transit Station Areas

5/6/16: Honolulu City Council is finalizing the City’s operating budget for the next fiscal year. The current budget bill includes a $500,000 appropriation for surveys to identify historic properties and cultural landmarks to determine their eligibility for a Hawaii or National Registers of Historic Places within the one-half mile radius around each transit station. Historic Hawai‘i Foundation supports the measure and encourages others to submit testimony in support.  Click here for the fact sheet CCH_CB14-2016_CD1_HistoricInventory_UpdatedFactSheet and see the information below with additional background. ACTION NEEDED:  Please consider submitting written testimony in support by Monday, May 9 for the next Budget Committee meeting.  Testimony may be sent via the following link: The following is a sample template/format for submitting testimony: To:       Budget Committee Chair Ann H. Kobayashi & Committee Members Date:   May 10, 2016 Re:       Bill 14, CD1 - $500,000 for surveys to identify historic properties and cultural landmarks within a one-half mile radius around transit stations I support the $500,000 appropriation in Bill 14, CD1 for surveys to identify historic properties and cultural landmarks within a one-half mile radius around transit stations.  (Please state your personal reasons) Thank you for the opportunity to testify in favor of this appropriation in Bill 15, CD1. (Name) (Address [optional]) (Phone number [optional]) MORE INFORMATION: Budget Committee Agenda: Council Bill 14 (2016) Status Sheet: Council Bill 14 (2016): Please contact Councilmember Carol Fukunaga’s Senior Aide Chris Delaunay at 768-5069 or at if you have questions. 4/1/16:  Honolulu City Council is considering a measure to provide funding to identify historic buildings and other historic resources that are located in areas that could be affected by transit-oriented development. Historic [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:02+00:00 March 31st, 2016|Categories: Advocacy|

Authorization of the National Historic Preservation Fund Expired; Congress Considers Measures to Restore HPF

12/29/15: The national Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) was created in 1976 to carry out provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Historic Preservation Fund provides support for the nation’s historic preservation programs, including those that have been integral for historic and cultural properties in Hawai‘i. The U.S House of Representatives and U.S Senate failed to reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund before it expired on September 30. However, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee included the reauthorization in the Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S.566) on November 19, 2015. The Senate and House both need to approve the measure in order for it to be sent to the President for signing before becoming law. The expiration of the HPF creates uncertainty for the future of one of our nation’s most important historic preservation programs. Among other programs, the HPF supports the Historic Tax Credits program, which helps to rehabilitate historic districts such as the Kunia Villages workforce housing for agricultural workers on O‘ahu, as well as commercial buildings in Honolulu’s Chinatown and Downtown, and mom-and-pop stores such as the Mā‘alaea General Store on Maui. The historic rehabilitation tax credits help retain places that are touchstones of community identity and pride, while providing job creation, tangible links to the history and culture of the area, and an authentic sense of place for our Islands. The HPF also provides funding for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices across the country. In FY15 the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Office received over $574,000 from the HPF to support programs such as the National Register of Historic Places, Certified Local Government grants, and bringing a local voice to federal decision making on matters to could affect our historic places. The [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:10+00:00 December 29th, 2015|Categories: Advocacy|

SHPD Proposes Projects That Do Not Affect Historic Properties

State Agency Proposes to Exclude Minor Projects from Review Process In October, the State Historic Preservation Division proposed a list of projects that have no potential to affect historic properties and that would no longer be subject to review and comment by the agency, if and when the exclusion list is finalized. Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) §6E-42 requires that before any State agency or officer of the State, including its political subdivisions (such as the county governments or the Hawai‘i Community Development Authority), approves any project involving a permit, license, certificate, land use change, subdivision or other entitlement for use “which may affect historic property,” it shall refer the matter to the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) for review and comment on “the effect of the proposed project on historic properties.” The referral applies to any property over 50 years old (§6E-2). SHPD’s review then establishes: Whether the property has historic significance and integrity that would make it eligible for the state register of historic places, and Whether the proposed project has the potential to “affect” the property, and specifically if it would have an adverse effect or inflict harm on the property’s historic integrity or character-defining features. The purpose of the review process is to help ensure the preservation and appropriate use of historic properties, and to provide opportunities for correction should a proposed action be found to inflict irreversible harm. This is consistent with the constitution of the State of Hawai‘i, which recognizes the value of conserving and developing the historic and cultural property within the State for the public good, and the public interest to engage in a comprehensive program of historic preservation at all levels of government to promote the use [...]

2017-04-21T01:01:20+00:00 December 19th, 2014|Categories: Advocacy|