The battle over whether to keep longtime horse stables inside Koko Head crater is reaching its deadline. 

That could mean the City giving the horses the permanent boot by the end of May. 

Friday those stables were  empty,no horses in site. 
The gates shut with apologetic closure signs. 

The picturesque Koko Head Stables could be seeing its final days, as the permit for lease holder Stable Solutions Inc. expires at the end of this month. 

State House Representative Gene Ward represents Hawaii Kai and Kalama Valley. When he heard about the potential closure, he surveyed his constituents and found that about 92% want the stables to remain. He hopes paniolo culture is not pau in Hawaii Kai, and that the historical stables where his own daughter learned to ride remain. 

"Remember this is a gift from Kamehameha Schools. It was a $1 lease in 1928," Ward said.  "Use it for trails. Use it for recreation. There could not be a better place for a horse stables. There could not be a better place for preserving paniolo culture."

The City & County wants to use this expired lease opportunity to enact a larger plan. Incorporating the 10 acre stables into the adjacent 200 acre botanical garden.

"Various concessionaires have found it to be a problem out there because of the limited space and aging facilities," said Georgette Deemer 
Deputy Managing Director for the  City & County of Honolulu. "And the plan had always been to expand the botanical garden."

She added that the facilities are in need of an extreme makeover, almost to the point that they're considered a public safety hazard. 

Rusted, puka filled roofs, some with cacti growing on top. Toppled structures and various pest infestations including bees we found in a bandstand. 

But supporters say it can all be fixed. 

"These buildings are not in that bad of shape," Ward said.  "A couple of them needed to be posted up, new pillars, but how much strength do you need to keep zinc roof from falling down?. Not very much. So I think that is overstated.".   

"If we are able to keep the stables going we would love to do that," Deemer said. "But we do need to have it work either financially or economically for the person holding the concession. That's the challenge that we face"

Deemer added that they are open to suggestions and proposals for how to reconcile the situation. 

There are proposals for a fledgling non-profit to take over the facility.and keep the stables at a cost of $2,100 a month.

Ward says they would only need about 14 horses to return back for them to keep the facility running. 

The future of the stables, and whether the Botanical Garden will be expanded, will be up for public discussion at a neighborhood board meeting being held at Hahaione Elementary Tuesday May 31. at 7p.m.