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Hawaii Set To Remove Famous Haiku Stairs

Following a Honolulu City Council meeting to examine ongoing concerns with the property, the famed Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, are likely to be demolished next year.

The US Navy erected the stairs in the 1940s, with 3,922 steps winding along a 2,800 foot mountain route near Kaneohe, on Oahu’s eastern shore.

Many locals believe the vista to be the greatest in all of Hawaii as the stairs reach a dramatic peak into the clouds.

The stairwell was permanently closed to the public in 1987. Hikers, YouTubers, adrenaline seekers, and other tourists snuck inside the site despite the closure. There have been several injuries there over the years, the most recent being a 24-year-old who was evacuated out in April after injuring his knee.

“Haiku Stairs is a big burden and expenditure for the city, and it has an influence on the quality of life for neighboring people,” said councilmember Esther Kiaina, according to CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now. Resolution 21-154, the proposal to remove the stairs, was written by Kiaina, whose district contains Kaneohe.

The Honolulu City Council decided overwhelmingly on September 8 to permanently remove the staircase.

“The city has already spent over $1 million in public funds to renovate the stairs, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in security expenditures,” said council member Brandon Elefante.

The bill was subsequently forwarded to Mayor Rick Blangiardi of Honolulu. He’s likely to authorize the demolition of the Haiku Stairs and set aside $1 million from the city’s budget to pay for it. He has 60 days to make up his mind.

“Fundamentally, it is unsuitable for a high-use tourist attraction to come via this residential area, which lacks the ability to offer appropriate amenities or parking,” the mayor said in an email to Honolulu Civil Beat.

“Furthermore, there is no unfettered access to the steps, and the major landowner at the base has said that it has no intention of granting access. As a result, my administration supports the City Council’s decision to remove the steps, and we aim to implement the required changes.”

The mayor’s office must provide a timeframe for the dismantling and demolition of the steps once the proposal is legally authorized.

Trespassers at the Haiku Stairs are currently subject to a maximum $1,000 fine.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, which owns and maintains the facility, has been contacted by CNN for comment.


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