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Keehi Lagoon future could include adding an industrial island

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Keehi Lagoon future could include adding an industrial island

Plans could include big man-made island with an industrial park

Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin

Picture a man-made, triangle-shaped island more than double the size of Ala Moana Beach Park in the middle of Ke'ehi Lagoon. Throw in 600 to 1,000 new boat slips along Lagoon Drive, dozens of moorings for larger, multimillion-dollar yachts and a light industrial park as the island's showcase development.

Sound far-fetched?

That's one of several ideas Gov. Linda Lingle's administration is looking into as part of its long-term redevelopment of the Ke'ehi Lagoon and Sand Island area.

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the Department of Transportation said they recently formed an informal group to study development potential of the Ke'ehi area.

While state officials stress that they have no firm development plans, the study could set the stage for the selection of a private developer to finance and build the large-scale undertaking.

Proponents say the development is long overdue, given the rundown state of the harbor facilities and festering crime problems in the area.

But critics say the redevelopment could displace local boating residents, alter an ocean ecosystem that houses O'ahu's only remaining traditional fishing village and disrupt a popular venue for paddlers.

Mike Formby, director of the DOT's harbors division, said the group's studies are in early stages of collecting data. He said the study group is looking at a number of past development plans, including a late 1980s effort to build a ocean recreation complex within the Ke'ehi and Sand Island area.

That proposal, which was spearheaded by Gov. John Waihee, was part of a failed effort to attract the America's Cup yacht race to Hawai'i in 1991. A 450-page environmental impact statement conducted in 1990 called for a massive dredging of the lagoon and the use of nearly 3.8 million cubic yards of landfill to create a 250-acre island.

"It's something we considered in the past," Formby said. "Now the working group will revisit the ideas."

Here's an aerial view of what it looks like today.


Here's the proposal.


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