The Historic Preservation Office has expressed support for Best Sunshine International Ltd.’s archaeological recovery project at the proposed site in Garapan.
BSI counsel Viola Alepuyo told Saipan Tribune that HPO, through its representative Eric Lash, advised the Division of Coastal Resources Management board on Wednesday that Best Sunshine presented a “sound plan” and that they recommend the approval of its major siting permit.
The Garapan site in front of the T Galleria has been identified as part of BSI’s $7.1-billion integrated casino resort project.
The DCRM board is composed of various regulatory agencies such as HPO, Department of Public Works, Coastal Resources Management, Department of Commerce, Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
BSI submitted an application for major siting permit for the archaeological work to be done at the Garapan site for the initial gaming facility.
Alepuyo disclosed that BSI has hired a firm from Hawaii, which has agreed to work in coordination with Marianas Area Research Center out of University of Hawaii as well as University of Guam in order to do the archaeological dig.
The HPO representative anticipates the archaeological dig to reveal information about a transitional phase in ancient Chamorro history that’s not available anywhere else; ancient burial grounds with significant information; and a Spanish colonial site.
At the meeting, HPO appreciated BSI’s willingness to undertake and fund the archaeological recovery project.
DLNR acting secretary Richard Seman told BSI chief executive officer Mark Brown that he wants to make sure there will be some form of local community involvement, if there’s anybody in the field of archaeology or related field that could be brought into the project to assist in any way.
Alepuyo said Brown told Seman it’s already in the works.
In addition, Alepuyo said, Brown explained that what the archaeologists are planning to do is to open up the site so that any school can schedule to come and view the site or take a tour of what’s happening or what is found there.
Brown also revealed that as part of BSI’s investment is to showcase some of the findings to educate tourists about ancient Chamorro culture.