The House of Representatives passed a bill last week appropriating $550,000 as partial funding for the CNMI’s hosting of next year’s Micronesian Games.
The House approved House Bill 14-378, which aims to tap $550,000 from Managaha Landing fees to construct official grandstands at the Francisco M. Palacios Baseball Field and Miguel B. Pangelinan softball field, which are located at the Oleai Sports Complex.
The construction of these official grandstands have reportedly been identified as the most urgent priority in relation to the hosting of the games.
The bill was authored by Rep. Justo S. Quitugua and approved by all 16 members during a session Thursday.
The bill said that it would be the third time that the CNMI has been selected by the Micronesian Games Organizing Committee to host the event.
The NMI first hosted the regional sports event in 1969 and later in 1990.
The bill cited that about 1,500 to 1,700 athletes, coaches, and officials are expected to arrive for the event “with a large part of the recovery cost being derived from a daily per diem rate of $30 that is paid by each participant.”
Further, the bill said that local businesses will also benefit from these visitors.
“The successful [staging] of this event will further serve to promote the CNMI as a viable venue for holding other regional and international sporting events. In the long term, the community will benefit from improvement and addition of sports facilities,” said Quitugua.
He said the $550,000 funding “affirms the Legislature’s support of the Games.”
Authorities earlier said that the CNMI needs some $5.8 million to renovate existing facilities and construct new sports facilities.
Of this amount, Quitugua said a legislative appropriation of up to $800,000 is needed.
Of the initial funding, $300,000 is allotted for the baseball stadium official grandstand and $250,000 for the softball grandstand.
The bill identified the Secretary of the Department of Public Works as the expenditure authority in consultation with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.
DCCA still awaits the Commonwealth Development Authority’s assistance to find the needed funding for the whole event.
CDA board chairman Tom Glen Quitugua earlier said that the agency is “looking to identify funds if we can.”
“We’re also looking at other resources to assist the government in making this a reality,” said the board chairman.
In a recent letter to CDA, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Juan L. Babauta said $5.8 million would be needed to renovate existing sports facilities and construct additional facilities.
He said funding is needed to construct a new Olympic-size swimming pool and tennis courts at the Oleai Sports Complex, renovation of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, installation of additional lighting at the Olympic-standard Oleai track and field, renovation of Kan Pacific Swimming Pool, construction of grandstands at the three Oleai Sports Complex fields, and construction of toilet and shower facilities.
The 2006 Micronesian Games is expected to be held on Saipan on June 23 to July 7.