Tourism authority helps keep Pearl Harbor attraction open

HONOLULU (AP) — Nonprofit organizations and a state agency are helping keep one of the Hawaii’s most-visited tourist attraction open during the U.S. government shutdown.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is providing $125,000 in emergency funding to keep the USS Arizona Memorial visitor center open during the shutdown, which started last week.

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The sunken battleship serves as a memorial for the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Thousands of people visit daily.

Pacific Historic Parks, a nonprofit that supports the memorial, and three nonprofit museums that operate in the orbit of the memorial, have used their own funds to pay salaries and utilities, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The tourism authority is allocating $14,000 a day to keep the tourist attraction open through Jan. 6, Hawaii News Now reported.

Keeping it open is important, said Aileen Utterdyke, president and CEO of Pacific Historic Parks.

“It’s a park that represents a lot of people who sacrificed their lives for the United States,” she said.

The tourism authority funding will begin today, she said.

Federal workers and contractors forced to stay home or work without pay are experiencing mounting stress from the impasse.

For those without a financial cushion, even a few days of lost wages during the shutdown over President Donald Trump’s border wall proposal could have dire consequences.

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The disruption is also starting to pinch citizens who count on a variety of public services. For example, the government won’t issue new federal flood insurance policies or renew expiring ones.

Many national parks have closed while some have limited access to facilities.