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Heeia lawsuit taken to federal level

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A nonprofit group is taking its struggle to reclaim management of Heeia State Park to federal court.

The Friends of Heeia State Park filed a class-action lawsuit yesterday against the new vendor, the state, and Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Laura Thielen.

The suit claims the state is in violation of a number of federal laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act, by letting another vendor manage the Windward Oahu park.

The group’s lawyer, Anthony Locricchio, said he has not presented the lawsuit to the state or the current vendor because their lawyers refused to accept it. He says he plans to serve the papers in time for a temporary restraining order hearing this afternoon.

The group filed a lawsuit in state court in April to block the state from awarding a lease to the 18-acre park to Kamaaina Kids, one of the largest childcare organizations in the state. Friends said in the suit that its lease is valid until Sept. 1.

A state judge issued a temporary restraining order April 26 and scheduled a hearing for a preliminary injunction for May 10.

On the day of the hearing, the group withdrew its lawsuit, clearing the way for the state to turn over the park’s management to Kamaaina Kids.

Friends of Heeia State Park has offered cultural and environmental programs at the park for more than 20 years. When the state requested bids for a new vendor, the group submitted a bid but the state awarded the lease to Kamaaina Kids.

 

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