ON PACIFIC MINI GAMES VENUES REPAIR
Northern Mariana Sports Association is aiming to complete repair and renovation works at the Oleai Sports Complex for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games by the end of 2020.
The Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium and Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield will need major facelift, as they were badly hit by Super Typhoon Yutu, while the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield and the track and field facility will also undergo repair.
“We already removed the flooring at the Ada Gym. The roofs are damaged along with the windows. That facility is unplayable and will really require a big repair. Right now, we’re waiting for FEMA’s word after they inspected the sports complex. We’re also waiting for CUC (Commonwealth Utilities Corp) and the materials needed to restore power at the facility,” NMASA executive director Tony Rogolifoi said when asked about the development at Oleai—the main hub of the 2021 Pacific Games—during the group’s meeting last Thursday.
“As for the track, there are parts with torn surface and we will contact Jacob Villagomez of the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. (the agency that facilitated the resurfacing work at the track) and ask if the contractor can do something about it since the facility is still under warranty,” Rogolifoi added.
The “Tan Ge” field, according to the NMSA official can still be used for Little League games when power is restored and temporary fix is done. The Saipan Little League Baseball season usually starts late February or early March and only the Major division games are played at the “Tan Ge” field. Junior and Senior League matches take place at the “Tan Ko” Field and Rogolifoi said the facility will be unplayable this year.
“We can’t do any events, but we are hoping that the process of repairing all the damage our facilities sustained both from both Typhoon Soudelor and Super Typhoon Yutu can be speed up,” said Rogolifoi, who is working with 2021 Pacific Games Oversight Committee member Laurie Peter of Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association in securing grants for the repair work at the complex.
Due to legality issues, the complex has been waiting for the needed fix for more than three years since Soudelor hammered Saipan. Then came Yutu and NMSA is hoping that this time, the project will move forward faster, as the CNMI is a little over two years away from hosting the Mini Games for the first time.
“We are looking at getting all the facilities ready by the end of 2020,” Peterka said.
With majority of the facilities at the complex down, Rogolifoi pleaded to the public not to enter them due to safety and liability issues.
“We would like to ask the public to refrain from using the facilities. Last week, we chased away players at the “Tan Ko” field. The facilities are not safe and if anything happens to them, we will be held liable,” the NMSA executive director said.