WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's a grassy field with open space and an ocean view. But the city has talked about building an operation substation for the Division of Ocean Safety on beach front property ewa of the Waikiki Aquarium.
"This is Kapiolani Park. The majority of this park is under the Kapiolani Park Trust," said Michelle Matson.
She sits on the Kapiolani Park Advisory Council. She said the footprint for the two-story building and surrounding space is bigger than what the city first proposed.
"We have been told that the entire area is going to be 13,000 square feet. That's the size of a Diamond Head residential property," she said.
The building itself would be 1,800 square feet.
Waikiki resident Dick Quinn said the structure would wipe out a lot of green space.
"There is so little of it. And there is absolutely no need for the Ocean Safety substation building to be put on precious park land, whether it's Kapiolani Park trust land or not," he said.
"There's plenty of other choices. they don't need to be in an ocean front, right at the neck of the woods," Waikiki resident Richard Huber said.
Ocean Safety's south shore headquarters works out of the Waikiki Natatorium. The new building would house those operations, supplies and vehicles.
"There would be parking for city trucks, utility vehicles, jet skis, jet ski maintenance, and a lot of other things that do not belong in the public open space," Mattson said.
Ocean Safety declined our request to comment on the planned project, but opponents are getting ready for a fight.
"The Kapiolani Park Preservation Society, they have warned that if the city proceeds with this project, there's going to be a lawsuit," said Quinn, who is attorney.
"I agree with that. There have been many lawsuits pertaining to Kapiolani Park," Mattson said. "We have gone to Supreme Court. We have gotten judgements."
City spokesperson Jesse Broder Van Dyke said the plan is a carryover from the previous administration, and Mayor Kirk Caldwell does not intend to pursue it.
But those who oppose the building want assurances that that is the case.
"It warrants further discussion," Mattson said.