HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, old military vehicles and aircraft stand at attention waiting on visitors and tour groups that visit the Kalaeloa Airport.
"We have school tours, a great educational experience for children. For veterans who served in the Gulf Wars, it's seen as closure for them when they get to see the vehicles and aircraft," museum historian Brad Sekigawa said.
But the museum is closed. It was ordered by the State Transportation Airports Division to stop all activities and vacate the premises.
In a statement, Transportation Department spokesman Tim Sakahara said the state issued a revocation notice to the non-profit on September 17 over “concerns with general liability coverage” and “fluid spill violations” on the site.
It ordered the museum group to clear the site.
"I think it's a wrongful eviction," said Brad Hayes, the museum's director.
He said he provided the state proof of insurance and a report from the EPA clearing the non-profit.
But Sakahara said the state got those documents after the revocation letter was received by the museum so the eviction order stands.
Hayes said he's disappointed.
"It's not really a good decision for the airport or the state or the taxpayer or anyone else involved in this whole mess," he said.
Since August 2000, the museum has been on a 30-day revocable permit at Kalaeloa Airport, where it pays rent.
But the state said the operation has expanded its footprint into a “considerable unauthorized area” that greatly exceeds the 2,423 square feet it was allowed to occupy.
Sekigawa said the museum is willing to downsize.
“We can make the footprint smaller by re-parking the aircraft, but the state won’t allow us to,” he said.
Asked how far the Naval Aviation Museum would go to fight the eviction, Hayes said," All the way!"
He said he hopes to reach a compromise with the state but if the museum is forced to close some of the historic aircraft and vehicles will be reduced to scrap metal.