Interesting statement and article. Linda is trying really hard to appeal to Kauai. Hard to say right now whether this plan is good or bad. I'm a little bit surprised that for things like this local governments could go into the bond markets in the current environment and get a reasonable fixed rate.
The initial dollar figure of $40 million mentioned below is an interesting one. The $240 million total seems like more money than is necessary for park and trail improvements. The links below show interest paid over 20 years on this will be at least $20 million, assuming they can get the 6% in the markets that they are projecting.
One thing I do know, the hikers have been telling me over the past few weeks that there is now a LOT of trash at the Hanakoa Campgrounds. That doesn't require a bond to get outta there. Presumably they don't want Bill doing that?
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"‘Recreational Renaissance’ Launched"
DLNR seeks $240M in loans to upgrade state parks, harbors
By Nathan Eagle - The Garden Island January 17, 2009
"Hikers, campers, beach-goers and boaters may soon experience drastic improvements to neglected trails, roads and other public facilities under a five-year comprehensive plan launched yesterday by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration.
The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking $240 million in loans to upgrade state parks and harbors, combat erosion and improve safety, boost enforcement and establish more interpretative programs.
DLNR Chair Laura Thielen said in an interview yesterday that the “Recreational Renaissance” initiative would be funded by $40 million in general obligation bonds in the first two years and $200 million in general obligation reimbursable bonds over the full five years.
“We don’t have the money. We’re asking permission to borrow it,” she said. “We will use our sweat equity and ingenuity in the DLNR, combined with modest user fees, and work to repay the debt. All we have to do is be able to make the annual payments. We’re not taking anything away from anybody else.”
To help “kick start” the plan, the department is asking the state Legislature to take out a $40 million loan, Thielen said.
[The dollar figure of $40 million is an interesting one. The $240 million total seems like more money than is necessary for park and trail improvements. The links below show interest paid over 20 years on this will be at least $20 million, assuming they can get the 6% in the markets that they are projecting.--Ed.]
The department would then use that money to implement its plans to produce the extra revenue, roughly $20 million, needed to pay back the debt service on that loan and an additional $200 million loan it would take out. The current low interests rates should help, Thielen said.
The extra revenue would be generated in three ways:
∫ The department is proposing to dedicate lease rents from existing leases and to also create new leases on state-owned commercial and industrial lands that will help repay the loan.
∫ The state has some limited leases and concessions on land around harbors, and in a few cases in parks, and those rents would help repay the loan and go toward running the operations of those areas.
∫ The department is proposing entrance fees for tourists at eight state parks, including Waimea Canyon, Koke‘e and Ha‘ena. Entrance will remain free for residents. The fee being proposed is the fee currently being paid at Diamond Head on O‘ahu — $1 for walk-ins, $5 for vehicles, slightly more for commercial users.
“Having an entry fee may allow you to have better management of the area,” Thielen said.
In Ha‘ena, for instance, residents have complained for years about people parking their vehicles all over the place, she said.
The department’s approach is multi-fold. Thielen said it’s part “let’s fix these places up” and part “let’s do business differently.”
“Even though we’re in this horrible economic situation, we must make a choice,” she said...
The five-year plan is slated to start July 1. The department plans to spend the first two years doing projects that have already been designed or budgeted.
For instance, $3.4 million is budgeted for a wide-range of improvements to Port Allen Small Boat Harbor in the first year of the plan and an additional $2.5 million for it in the second year, according to state documents that were embargoed for release today.
For forestry on Kaua‘i, the first year would see $450,000 the design of bridge restoration at Keahua Stream, N. Fork Wailua River and Kawai Koi Stream, plus $50,000 to design the replacement of two miles of the Alakai Boardwalk. The second year would see the construction of these two projects, totaling $4.5 million and $500,000, respectively.
State parks on Kaua‘i in the first year would see significant funding in the first two years. At Koke‘e state park, $8 million is budgeted for the construction of Koke‘e Road improvements, plus $610,000 for design work for improvements to rental cabins, water systems, parking, interpretive displays and a new Ni‘ihau lookout at Hinahina. Construction on those projects the following year is expected to total $6.9 million.
On the Eastside, $400,000 is budgeted to renovate the comfort station at Old Smith’s Landing at Wailua River State Park.
On the North Shore, the second year of the plan calls for $480,000 of design work for Na Pali Coast State Park trail restoration and stability improvements, protection improvements of archaeological sites at Nualolo Kai and water system improvements at Miloli‘i..."
See hawaii.gov/dlnr/media for more details of the plan.
Recreational Renaissance Fact Sheet.pdf
Source of Revenue: The following are examples of the various types of leases Land Division currently manages and the revenues currently generated from such leases, which revenues will be used to support the Recreational Modernization plan.
Debt Service Schedule:
5-year plan 2-YR SUMMARY BY COUNTY.pdf
5-year plan APPRNS EXPEND.pdf
5-year-plan Boating & Ocean Recreation.pdf
5-year plan Forestry & Wildlife.pdf
5-year plan State Parks.pdf