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Paid parking proposed at USS Arizona Memorial

The National Park Service said today that it wants public feedback on a proposal to implement paid parking at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial to support “deferred maintenance and upkeep” on the USS Arizona Memorial as well as park sites on Ford Island including the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma memorials.

The $7 per day parking fee would be managed by the park service, with a planned implementation date of 2023. Entrance into the visitor center and the USS Arizona Memorial program is free.

The hugely-popular memorial — as well as three other neighboring nonprofit museums — attracts a steady flow of tourist vehicles daily at the visitor center, with overflow parking extending along Arizona Memorial Place to Restaurant 604, which fronts Rainbow Bay Marina.

“This fee would also fund operation of the parking lots and enhance visitor services such as security, exhibits, and leveraging technology to better reach a more modern audience,” the park service said in a release.

The park service estimates 560 vehicles parking per day — a figure based on pre-coronavirus visitation levels. “Our park leadership has been in contact with the Pearl Harbor Historic Site partners, and they are aware of this proposed plan with no concerns,” park service spokesperson Emily Pruett said in an email.

Those other museums include the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and Battleship Missouri Memorial.

NPS said on Thursday that it is looking into replacing the theater building at the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center “to address existing deferred maintenance, improve (the) visitor experience, and make the structure more resilient to storm surge and other natural hazards.”

The park service also is evaluating whether to modify and/or expand the existing museum buildings to better protect the artifacts on display, provide space for temporary exhibits and improve visitor circulation around the site, Pruett said.

A new $56 million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center was dedicated in 2010 on the 69th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack with new buildings — including the two new museum galleries — and walkways spread over a much larger area along 17.4 acres of shoreline.

The new parking fee would be collected under the authority of Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which establishes fee collection on federal land.

“National Park Service sites collecting fees can retain 80% of those revenues to support projects that improve the visitor experience, (while) the remainder is used for projects throughout the National Park Service,” the release said.

A 30-day public comment period will open from Saturday through Aug. 30. Comments should be submitted through the NPS planning, environment, and public comment website at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/103663.

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