By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Capitol Bureau Chief
Gov. Ben Cayetano has notified city officials that the state will take back control of the Ala Wai Golf Course on July 27, but the course will continue to operate after that date, according to a Cayetano spokeswoman.
Kim Murakawa, press secretary for Cayetano, said the governor will not close the Ala Wai links until a replacement course is found. The Ala Wai course is the most heavily used in the nation, with more than 170,000 rounds played there a year.
Cayetano has proposed converting the course into a new park with some commercial development along Kapahulu Avenue, and building a new course on Sand Island to replace the Ala Wai.
He argued that the Honolulu urban core is badly in need of more park space, but his proposal has run into opposition from golfers.
Cayetano and Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris have been considering buying or condemning an existing Leeward course to replace the Ala Wai.
Cayetano also has said government might condemn land for a new course.
Cayetano formally notified Harris and the City Council by letter last week of his plan to transfer the land under the course back to the control of the state.
In July, the state will submit to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources a new executive order transferring control of the site to the state, Murakawa said. The state also will work with the city to draft a memorandum of agreement to allow the city to continue to operate the course, and that memorandum would include a termination clause, she said.
The Legislature could reject the new executive order, and many lawmakers have said they oppose the Ala Wai park proposal. In the state House, a majority said they oppose it.
However, lawmakers evidently wont have a chance to vote on the new executive order until after the Legislature convenes in 2002.
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