Tourism board votes to help with Presidential Center plans

By Justin Fujioka
Published On: Sep 26 2013 06:25:54 PM HST

There are lots of possibilities for a Presidential Center at a prime ocean-front spot in Kakaako.

HONOLULU -

The Hawaii Tourism Authority joined in the push Thursday for a potential Barack Obama Presidential Center near Point Panic in Kakaako.

The HTA Board of Directors agreed to help the University of Hawaii and the lieutenant governor's office with plans and proposals for the center.

The project's manager, UH professor Robert Perkinson, said the process is much like bidding for the Olympics.

"We're proposing concepts and a compelling site and a vision for what a Hawaii Presidential Center can be," he said. "And then President Obama and his staff, very late in their administration, would come in and actually design or think about what actually would be built."

Similar plans are in the works in Chicago, Obama's other home.

Perkinson said Hawaii needs to take advantage of its scenery, united community and UH.

"So we're trying to bring all of that to the table to show the president that Hawaii's got a great place for him and also a great set of partners and a great set of institutions that can help shoulder the burden to help launch the second phase of his career."

Local planners say they don't see this as a competition with Chicago, but an opportunity for a two-campus presidential center.

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