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Facilities upgrade big part of state’s Sports Development Initiative

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Facilities improvement will be a major piece of the state’s newly formed Sports Development Initiative, said Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, who will lead the effort.

Tsutsui was appointed today by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to head the Sports Development Initiative.

Its function is to to coordinate efforts throughout Hawaii to improve the state’s sports industry.

Tsutsui said he hopes to accomplish this by being a liaison for various stakeholders including the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Stadium Authority, public and private universities and sports organizations.

“This is a starting point,” Tsutsui said. “We want to bring people together.”

The initiative includes working with the HTA in negotiations with the NFL for the Pro Bowl, as well as possible preseason games, Tsutsui said.

Tsutsui said no one issue is a priority. He did, however, say he met recently with University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay regarding UH’s situation with Aloha Stadium.

Abercrombie said the initiative will be all-encompassing, including issues such as whether to rebuild Aloha Stadium at its current site or somewhere else, and how such projects will be funded.

There will also be an emphasis on hosting new events.

“We can be an anchor, not just a crossroad or a bridge,” Abercrombie said. “Everything from surfing to rugby to baseball. International in scope.”

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