Effort begins to restore Haleiwa Alii Beach surf center building - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Effort begins to restore Haleiwa Alii Beach surf center building

HALEIWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been years since the Haleiwa Alii Beach surf center has gotten a new coat of paint. But volunteers who pitched in Saturday know it's just the beginning of a long road in getting the building back for the community.

More than a hundred volunteers turned out to help paint the center and to clean up the surrounding area at the popular beach. 

The surf center building has been at the beach since 1971 and was a fixture for more than a generation of kids who turned into professional surfers. For them, it all began here.

"A lot of the beaches in Australia, they have surf clubs and they have that spot that after you're done surfing, everybody kinda gathers and hangs out, and this was kind of ours," said pro surfer Sean Moody, who came to help out.

The building than was turned over to the television series "Baywatch Hawaii." The show's producers built the second floor to play the role of the lifeguard headquarters.

The second floor has been off-limits since the show was canceled in 2001. Since then, the city had been looking at the possibility of demolishing the building. But Friends of Alii Beach and others in the community want to return the center to its original use, as a gathering and learning place for young surfers and their families.

However, there are challenges.

"We need to make sure that the upstairs building is going to be utilized properly, so it's going to have to become handicapped accessible for one thing, and that's one of the big things that we're going to need to hurdle over, so we're going to have to raise funds and rally the community around that," said Kanani Oury, one of the organizers of the cleanup and painting.

"Doing the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements, fire safety, being able to bring the facility up to code will be difficult and expensive, but not impossible," said Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin, who supports the restoration effort.

It's estimated that it will cost at last $150,000 to $250,000 to restore the building and bring it up to code. But the volunteers have already put in the sweat and are willing to put in more.

"Hopefully we can adopt the park," said Earl Dahlin of Friends of Alii Beach. "If we can adopt the park, that's our park, like our house. We'd be able to take care of what it is."

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