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Community group forms in hopes of purchasing Coco Palms
By The Garden Island
Sunday, March 29, 2009

WAILUA - The Friends of Coco Palms, an ad-hoc steering committee, has formed in an effort to purchase the historic Coco Palms property for public benefit, a news release said this week.

The purpose behind its formation is to preserve the unique natural features and culture of the property, while making it available for public use.

Sponsored by the Kauai Public Land Trust, the group intends to work with the community to determine the best use of the property, including strategies to acquire the property and plan for its long term protection and management.

The property has remained shuttered and untouched since it was damaged by Hurricane eIniki in 1992, and the property is in decay and begging for rescue, the release said.

Formed in 2007, the committee seeks to pave the way for a Coco Palms future that is culturally based, historically respectful, publicly accessible and cherished by Kauaians for generations to come.

The Friends of Coco Palms is led by an executive committee comprised of Pat Griffin, Diane Zachary and Sen. Gary Hooser. Additional members include: Gary and Beryl Blaich, Andy Bushnell, Bill Chase, Robin Danner, Puna Dawson, Christobel Kealoha, Linda Pizzitola and Rayne Regush.

The release says that the committeefs intent is to fund a development plan for the Coco Palms Resort that will include a comprehensive community vision for the property and a solid estimate of the costs needed to put that plan into action.

Once a vision for the property has been created, the group hopes to reach an accommodation with the current landowner for the purchase of the property and begin securing public and private funds for acquisition.

To begin this process, the committee has set an initial fundraising goal of $25,000 and, to date, it has successfully raised $5200. The money will reportedly be used for administrative support and to pay start-up costs associated with grant writing, publicity, and organization building.

In addition the committee has begun the second stage of fundraising, applying for various larger grants that will enable them to begin the community discussion, hire professionals who can make assessments of the property and develop possibilities for its self supporting, viable future.

The Friends of Coco Palms have posted a survey on their Web site, www.friendsofcocopalms.org and community members are strongly encouraged to visit the site, take the online survey and sign-up to become a gFriend of Coco Palmsh, or make a donation towards the groupfs efforts.

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