Garapan Skate Park

The before, left, and after photos of the Garapan Skate Park.

Contributed photos

(GCEA) — The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers has brought the Public Private Partnership campaign into the heart of the villages in the CNMI, which is where the community’s efforts can directly improve the quality of life of residents.

In March, seven of the 11 new groups that signed up for the PPP program adopted sports and event facilities that will provide residents with cleaner, safer, and welcoming venues to host community activities.

The new PPP supporters include members of the 22nd Legislature (Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 representatives and the House of Representatives minority group), who signed up to transform basketball courts in Kagman, Chalan Kanoa, Navy Hill, Capital Hill, Chinatown, Susupe, Tanapag, and As Matuis; a children’s park; library; beach pavilion; and the Garapan Skate Park.

CNMI residents are already seeing improvements. Last month, the minority bloc of the House of Representatives, staff, and community volunteers completed a four-day makeover of the Garapan Skate Park. The skate park was thoroughly cleaned, repaired, and painted to include colorful murals that transformed the park into a work of art. The skate park is now open for everyone to enjoy.

“We are pleased that a majority of our new PPP partners have chosen to adopt facilities in their respective villages. When we created the PPP campaign, our intent was to transform not only the tourist sites in the CNMI but also key areas in our villages,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who co-chairs the GCEA with Jerry Tan. “An underlying goal of this campaign is to bring back village pride and get neighbors to work side-by-side to improve life at the village level.”

Torres added that seeing improvements in basketball courts, baseball fields, and the skate park would further encourage residents, especially the youth, to stay active and get involved in sports. Upgrades to the social halls will provide alternatives and cost-effective venues for community activities and family events.

Matt Iguel, manager of the Socho Basketball Club, which is partnering with Precinct 4 Reps. Sheila Babauta and Joel Camacho in adopting the As Matuis court, noted that As Matuis residents have already noticed the improvements in the facility.

“Through the PPP, we now have equipment that we need to clean and maintain the basketball court. The court is now cleaner and more vibrant. We are seeing more people playing basketball with their families and friends. Some residents have also suggested that we adopt the bus stops in the village. With us working together, we can make it happen,” Iguel said.

Talaabwogh Star’s Malcolm Omar is pleased to see the PPP campaign make its way into the villages. He noted that it underscores the importance of everyone pitching in to make the islands better places to live.

“It’s a great way to encourage our people to have a sense of ownership of the resources in our communities. It benefits everyone if we are able to provide a safe, clean, and comfortable place for residents and visitors alike. The PPP shows that we all care for our community,” said Omar, whose group is also partnering with Precinct 4 representatives in restoring a basketball court in Tanapag.

For their part, the Korean Diving Association, Japan Saipan Travel Association, and the Japanese Society of Northern Marianas have adopted historic sites throughout Saipan. KDA agreed to maintain the Underwater World War II Korean Monument, while the JSTA and Japan Society of NMI committed to caring for the Japanese Peace Memorial and the Tower of Okinawa. Samoa-Marianas decided to adopt two sites — the historical Samoa Village in Tanapag and the I’iga Pisa Launch Site in Agingan.

With the 11 new partners joining the PPP program on March 18, there is now a total of 54 groups adopting 48 sites on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.

The GCEA welcomes the new partners to the program and invites interested organizations to join the PPP initiative by sending inquiries by email to gceacnmi@gmail.com. PPP site transformations can be viewed on the GCEA’s Facebook and Instagram pages (@cnmigov.economy)

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