A motor-sports racetrack in West Oahu? It’s a possibility racing enthusiasts are hoping for, and the Honolulu City Council has made the first move.
On Wednesday, council members passed a resolution that would expedite the transfer of 400 acres of land at the Naval Air Station Barbers Point.
It is now up to the mayor’s administration to follow through on the transfer. Once that happens, the city Department of Parks and Recreation will decide what to do with the land.
Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi says nearly 20 years ago, the federal government offered the acres of land to the city and county of Honolulu for recreational purposes.
Motor sports enthusiasts envision 220 acres for a racetrack. The area is minutes away from Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center.
“There’s a lot of racers on Oahu. And there’s no place, no facility for them. It’s like every other sport. We’ve got baseball fields and we have nothing for our motor sports community,” said racetrack enthusiast Li Cobian.
But those who oppose the idea of building a track on the property say, not so fast.
“I don’t think that’s good. It’s too many houses. It should be up near Kunia or farmlands, away from
a motor sports complex. I think it would be too loud, too many complaints,” said Kailua resident Kyle Frazier.
Li Cobian disagrees. He says he welcomes a city-sanctioned racetrack with plenty of oversight.
“It’s between an airport, a noisy airport, and a sewage plant. I think the biggest misconception for racers is we’re all outlaws. Out to start trouble and break rules. One of the great things about motorsports is it’s a great conduit to get kids interested in STEM education. Science, technology, engineering and math. And a motor excites a kid and can get them out of playing video games, stuck in their homes,” said Cobian.
Cobian, who has advocated for a racetrack for years, says he welcomes a city-sanctioned racetrack with plenty of oversight.
The Hawaii Raceway Park on Oahu closed in 2006. A privately owned track, the Kalaeloa Raceway Park, shut down in 2014.