Big band benefit for the Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Aug 01 2013 06:30:00 PM HST

The Friends of the Natatorium are about to come out swinging. The group is preparing to kick off a fundraising campaign to try and save the historic Waikiki War Memorial.

HONOLULU -

The Friends of the Natatorium are about to come out swinging.    

The group is preparing to kick off a fundraising campaign to try and save the historic Waikiki Natatorium War Memorial. 

It could be the last dance for the the crumbling historic structure. But those who want to save the natatorium are preparing a big band benefit this month.

It's the "era of swing" and the Harry James Orchestra to the rescue-- with one of its original members coming to town.

"That happens to be my dad, Fred Radke, who is the band leader and trumpet player who will lead the Harry James Orchestra at the Elks Club, on Sunday the 11th," said Mo Radke.

 The head of the Friends group says the organization doesn't have a lot of money.

Its primary source of funds pays for the group to put on ceremonies honoring our war veterans at the memorial.

Radke realizes this month's big band fundraiser is a small effort toward what will cost millions.

"But it does give people who are talking about restoration hope, that there are folks who do think it should be preserved and saved. We are going to start ramping up to try doing more things in the community and generate the funds to help people know that we are serious about the restoration," Radke said.

PHOTOS: Waikiki Natatorium announcement

Click here to see the city's Natatorium announcement.

Meanwhile, the city says it is still on track to complete the environmental impact statement studying the option of demolition by the end of the year.

 The city halted the study while the state explored taking back control of the memorial.

But officials don't believe that delay will have much impact on the final report since most of the study was completed.

"Six months, as far as change or deterioration of the natatorium, I don't think there is that much change," said Chris Takashige, director of the city’s department of design and construction.

Takashige says the completion of the EIS will not need any additional funding.

"I think people are misled to believe that the EIS presents only one directive. That's not true. All of the alternatives that were considered and full restoration is one of them," Takashige said.

The Waikiki Natatorium turns 86 this month.

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