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Will Kauai's legendary, long-shuttered Coco Palms Resort ever reopen?

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On Kauai, a number of concerned residents formed a nonprofit group called Friends of Coco Palms, intending to purchase the property and preserve the historic site for public use.

The group's
first donor, chipping in $20,000 in seed money, was South Park creator, Trey Parker, who has a home in Wailua, Kauai. Said Parker, “My parents honeymooned at the Coco Palms hotel and I have watched in disgust as the site remained neglected and abandoned for so many years.”

The state of Hawaii granted the group $234,000 to create development plan.

"Unfortunately, that money is on hold because of the economy,” says the group’s Jennifer Luck, executive director of Kauai Land Trust and spokesperson for Friends of Coco Palms.

There are many people interested enough in saving the property to donate, says Luck. “Once the state funds are released, maybe by the end of the year, we can get a definite plan in place. Then we can start raising the money.”

The Friends of Coco Palms would like ideally to work out some kind of a public-private option. “We would probably want open space, public space and a revenue-generating component to help sustain the property,” says Luck. “After all, the area is spectacular, with cultural and historic importance and immense potential.”

Of course, the property at the moment still belongs to Coco Palms Ventures, which has construction permits that extend three more years. “Like most hospitality projects, Coco Palms is on hold until Hawaii tourism turns around,” says Coco Palms Ventures’ Phillip Ross. “We are looking for joint ventures or for a qualified developer who would be respectful of the site.”

"I guess it’s a question of who comes up with the money first,” says Luck.

PHOTOS: For HAWAII Magazine pics of the Coco Palms' current condition, see next page

Photos: A vintage promo photo of the Coco Palms lagoon (pg. 1), a 1960's menu cover (pg. 2)

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Kauai officials looking to spur redevelopment of iconic Coco Palms Resort property
Kauai celebrating 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” this weekend
Travel Channel’s “Off Limits” series delves into Hawaii’s “secret histories”

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