Garapan Revitalization Project updates Chamber on progress
Welcomed as a guest presenter during the September Saipan Chamber of Commerce General Membership Meeting, CNMI Office of Planning and Development deputy director and Garapan Revitalization Task Force chair Christopher A. Concepcion shared with the Saipan business community the exciting progress made thus far in the Garapan Revitalization Project.
Being one of OPD’s premier initiatives, the project seeks to reinvigorate the Garapan Core and turn the area into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly hub for tourists, businesses, and the community.
Concepcion briefed the meeting attendees on the project’s scope and shared renderings of Garapan once all work is completed. Concepcion also shared that the project is expected to break ground within the next 30 days, and that the construction schedule for the project is 18-24 months.
The project’s features include repairing and re-paving streets, maximizing on-street parking, the installation of new trees and landscaping, bike lanes and shared streets, and an opened-up Paseo de Marianas, which will serve as a hybrid street and event space.
“We thank the Saipan Chamber of Commerce for allowing us to brief their members on the ongoing Garapan Revitalization Project. This project is one of the most important infrastructure related projects happening in the Commonwealth right now due to the long-term economic impact it will have on the business community, and ultimately on government tax revenues,” said Concepcion.
“There are more hotel rooms, gift shops, shopping centers, restaurants, bars, and other businesses located in the Garapan Core than anywhere else in the CNMI. The Garapan Revitalization Project will enhance our main tourist district and make it enticing for businesses to open, expand or renovate so they are able to capture more market share and generate more revenue. It’s been a long time coming but we are finally going to fix up our main tourist district.”
The Garapan Revitalization Project is made possible through an $11.2-million grant award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
Making up the GRP team are Concepcion, OPD administrative assistant Hillary C. Agulto, and project manager Timothy R. Lang of TRL Architecture. A/E services for the project is led by GHD, Inc. Landscape architecture is led by Belt Collins/Bowers+Kubota.
The Garapan Revitalization Project is one of several supporting action plans that seek to move the CNMI toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
OPD supports interagency efforts to transform Garapan into a premier, family-friendly tourist destination as envisioned over a decade ago in the 2007 Garapan and Beach Road Revitalization Plan. To achieve this, the Garapan Revitalization Task Force (GRTF) was reestablished in 2018 and is composed of businesses, residents, and relevant government agencies.
Thus far, the GRTF has updated the 2007 Plan to reflect Garapan’s current needs and priorities and has supported proposals for legislation to create a “Community Improvement District” that will establish a funding mechanism to support priority projects in Garapan. This work aims to build out infrastructure and processes for organizations and management, and to make the core of Garapan the vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, and cohesive focal point of business, cultural, and civic activities on Saipan.
Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the CNMI’s plans to achieve them in the Comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan (CSDP) linked here. Learn more about OPD and its other current projects at opd.gov.mp. (PR)