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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Flores backs plan to develop NMI as flower destination

The Marianas Visitors Authority’s plan to develop the Commonwealth into a flower destination has gotten the full support of Saipan Mayor Donald Flores.

Earlier this month, MVA managing director Perry Tenorio told a House of Representatives panel that the islands’ tourism body is looking at a number of destination enhancements and one of the plans is to make the CNMI a flower destination.

While he supports MVA’s destination enhancements ideas, Flores said the agency should “put their money where their mouth is” and hopefully provide some funding to the mayor’s office so it can successfully execute the plan to turn the CNMI into a flower destination.

“That’s the reason I’m following the state of hotel tax. Maybe a portion of that would be allotted to the mayor’s office for our island beautification projects,” said Flores, whose office has lately been active in planting beautiful and colorful flowers on Saipan’s highway medians.

“The public has been very appreciative of what we’ve done and every time I go somewhere there’s always someone asking me for flowers. We’d like to extend beautification to the villages so tourists visiting the villages can see. We also want to help community members plant flowers and offer them seeds and seedlings for a nominal fee. All they have to do is bring their pots or vases.”

Aside from the flowers in the highway medians, Flores is also looking at planting flowers along the Beach Road Pathway from the MVA intersection in Oleai all the way up to the JP Center Building in Garapan.

He is eyeing to set up from three to four “sunset gardens” along the route. “We can put up all natural and use logs/cut trees as borders. [We can] have parking lots on the side for tourists to stop by so they can enjoy the sunset.”

Flores’ plans don’t stop there as his end goal is for the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s island beautification effort to stretch from the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport down to the hotels along Beach Road.

He added that his grand plans would’ve been completed by now if not for the decision by the Department of Public Works’ decision to cap the medians with cement some months back.

He said palm trees are currently crowding his flowers on the cutouts left open by Public Works.

“Look at the cutouts that they have palms. Look at the flowers that are there that we planted, they’re weak, and they’re just not blooming. You know why? Because the palm roots are tight and there is no air for the flowers to breath. I don’t support that. If they put palm, I’m not going to do it [anymore]. Either you put palm [trees] or you put flowers.”

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