$3M for Oleai Sports Complex repairs

The Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield is seen here in ruins after sustaining damage from Super Typhoon Yutu last year. (Jon Perez)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has allotted a total of $3 million for the repair work at the Oleai Sports Complex.

FEMA External Affairs Office representative Todd Hoose told Saipan Tribune that the CNMI identified the sports complex as one of the government-owned facilities that suffered significant damage from Super Typhoon Yutu. He added that the allocation is part of FEMA’s public assistance funds for projects that are owned by the CNMI government or government benefit facilities.

Hoose said that the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium will receive $1.5 million in fresh funds to repair the damage it sustained from Yutu last year and Typhoon Soudelor in 2015. He added that the other $1.5 million is allocated for the chain-link fence, the softball and baseball fields, and the rest of the grounds of the facility.

The FEMA official said the agency agreed to fund the repair work at the Oleai Sports Complex, as the CNMI government believed the facility is a good investment. The sports complex has hosted several international and regional tournaments and also serves as venue for local competitions and training facility for CNMI athletes. Other members of the community also use the facility for their activities.

The $3 million allocated for the Oleai Sports Complex is part of the almost $170 million that FEMA has obligated to the CNMI government to help rebuild and repair facilities and other structures that were damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu.

Hoose also clarified that government-benefit facilities can also be owned by a private organization.

“Let us say that for example the Oleai Sports Complex was owned by some [non-governmental organization), but it is open to absolutely everyone who is on the island. That is for the government benefit,” he said.

Besides the sports complex, FEMA will also fund the repair of the Northern Marianas College and the rebuilding of Hopwood Middle School and a few other government establishments.

“These are all significant chunks of money that would get the public facilities back up to operation,” Hoose said.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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