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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, August 20, 2001

Bayview Golf Park: Let's keep it green

The city is exactly where it should be in exploring the possibility of acquiring the Bayview Golf Park on Kane'ohe Bay Drive: very preliminary talks.

As reported by Advertiser golf columnist Bill Kwon, deteriorating conditions at the park's 18-hole "executive" golf course, driving range and miniature golf course, as well as a $600,000 tab for back city taxes, suggest the current owners might be interested in selling.

The city has no business, of course, attempting to displace private enterprise in running this golf course. That said, however, the city has a legitimate — indeed, a vested — interest in keeping that acreage in some sort of open space.

Thus, if the present owner or a new buyer can make the business viable and profitable, we're all better off. Let's count the ways:

  • It's a nice, if pricey, golf facility (or at least it was before cash shortages allowed it to deteriorate), particularly for youths and seniors.
  • As a condition for their permit to expand in 1994, the owners committed to provide a comfort station, playing field and other improvements to a planned public park to adjoin the golf course. If the course doesn't prosper, those improvements, plus back taxes, are at risk.

The present facility is the direct outgrowth of a compromise between the owners and the surrounding community, which has a stake in the facility's future. In 1991 the City Council rejected Bayview's proposal for a larger redevelopment that would have turned the course into an exclusive country club with a full-size golf course.

The owners subsequently knocked on doors tirelessly to get neighbors to agree to a scaled-back compromise. The owners got their end of the bargain; the neighbor — and the city — are still wanting.

The city has a legitimate role in fostering the best possible outcome. If things continue to break down, that role might include purchasing the golf park — but that's farther down the road.