Local lawmakers are seeking control of the American Memorial Park in a move that will remove federal money in the upkeep and maintenance of the park grounds and facilities.
The Senate has passed a measure that will authorize and empower the governor to request the U.S. Department of the Interior to transfer administration of the park to the CNMI government.
Senate Bill 11-126 or the American Memorial Park Transfer Act of 1999 has been tossed to the House Natural Resources Committee before it heads to the floor for voting.
Its passage followed the signing into law of an earlier legislation setting aside some $2 million from local funds for park improvement project.
Offered by Senate Vice President Thomas P. Villagomez, the proposal will ask the Interior Secretary to hand over the park without cost to the island government as provided under a U.S. law.
All improvements, including real and personal property, will also be transferred to local authorities, who will then be responsible for the full cost of development, administration and maintenance of the park once CNMI regains control.
The CNMI governor is empowered under the same federal law to offer the request which may be made at such time as the local chief executive deems “proper and necessary to the development of the Park.”
Legislators are hoping to complete the legislative process as soon as possible as the proposed bill also will provide temporary funding from the interest incurred in a trust account set up by the federal government for the park.
These funds will be used specifically for the upkeep and maintenance of the American Memorial Park, according to Villagomez’ proposal.