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1997 News Releases



Release Date: 10/30/1997
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

Jointly released by the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  

     (San Francisco) -- The state of Hawaii and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that the U.S. EPA has awarded the state of Hawaii $75,000 to help revitalize an underused industrial area -- or brownfields -- in the Kaka'ako Community Development District.    

     Brownfields are former industrial and commercial properties where redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.  
     "Kaka'ako has tremendous recreational and economic potential and we are pleased to be able to support the Honolulu community and state of Hawaii in this effort," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "Restoring property that may be contaminated creates life and strength in a community, and I look forward to our continued partnership as you create your vision for the Kaka'ako area."  

     "The state of Hawaii is very fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in this important project," said Governor Ben Cayetano. "Our goal is to attain a world-class waterfront at Kaka'ako Makai and to create a gathering place to satisfy Honolulu's needs for public recreation, entertainment and amenities, community cultural centers and attractions. At the same time, Kaka'ako Makai offers a unique opportunity for boosting Hawaii's economy.

     "Because many of Kaka'ako Makai's lands have been used for light industrial and warehousing operations for many years, the brownfields project will allow us to identify the steps we must take to realize our vision for these lands," added Cayetano.
     "Brownfields project support of cleanup efforts in Kaka'ako promotes both a safer environment and improved economic potential, a win-win situation from any perspective," said Bruce Anderson, deputy director of Environmental Health for the Hawaii Department of Health. "It is a creative way of encouraging business activity in the Kaka'ako area while assuring that the health of consumers and business owners is not adversely affected."

     Jan Yokota, HCDA executive director, said, "The Hawaii Community Development Authority greatly appreciates the Kaka'ako Brownfields Project funding being provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii Department of Health. The award of the grant is most timely. One of the first steps in transforming Kaka'ako Makai into a vibrant commercial and cultural area is to assess the level of environmental contamination on the state-owned properties in the area. The project--which will identify remediation measures should contamination be found--takes us a step closer in our efforts to redevelop the area."

     The U.S. EPA brownfields grant was awarded to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to assist the state's efforts to redevelop the Makai area of the Kaka'ako Community Development District into a thriving, productive area. The Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) -- created by the Hawaii Legislature in 1976 to plan the redevelopment of the state's urban areas -- received the grant from DOH.

     The grant is being used to complete an evaluation of the type and extent of contamination at Kaka'ako Makai and to develop sampling and cleanup plans and cost estimates for cleanup. HCDA has contracted with a firm to do this work, which is expected to be completed in January 1998. The U.S. EPA grant cannot be used for the actual cleanup work.

     The Makai area of the Kaka'ako district comprises about 227 acres between Ala Moana Beach Park and Aloha Tower. Most of the land is state owned. Earlier redevelopment efforts have resulted in the development of Kaka'ako Waterfront Park and the soon-to-be completed Children's Discovery Center. Other possible plans for the area include an aquarium, children's theater, shops, restaurants and other commercial activities.

     President Clinton's Brownfields Action Agenda -- initiated nearly three years ago -- encourages redevelopment of these properties. The brownfields initiative also addresses the concerns prospective developers have about inheriting cleanup liability for property.
     In Hawaii, the state, local communities and developers will continue to work together to restore the sites, which will create new jobs and economic growth, increase property values and stimulate tax revenues. All of U.S. EPA's brownfields grant projects feature cooperative efforts between diverse community groups, investors, lenders, developers, regulators and other interested parties.

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