Grant available for restoration of track lights

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Lights at the Oleai Sports Complex’s track and field will be restored through a block grant. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

The lights between the Saipan Mayor’s Office and the Oleai Sports Complex track and field facility will be repaired through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

During the Northern Marianas Sports Association regular board meeting last Thursday, NMSA president Michael White shared that the Saipan Mayor’s Office has informed the board that CDBG would allocate funds to restore the lights that were destroyed after super typhoons Soudelor and Yutu slammed the island. NMSA is the caretaker of the track and other facilities at the complex.

“The [Saipan] Mayor’s Office has advised us that we’re going to get a block grant to restore the lights at the track and it’s not going to interfere with our FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) repairs,” White said.

According to Oleai Sports Complex program coordinator Elias Rangamar, the grant allocated $200,000 for the lights project and this is separate from the FEMA funding that would cover other repair work at the track facility.

“There’s like $200,000 and they need to use it so I guess they wrote to NMSA. The Mayor is just going to build a few new poles and renovate the existing poles that are not part of the sports complex for lights. They’re not going to touch the ones considered as part of the track because that might affect our FEMA funding” he said.

Rangamar added that they are working on trying to get some of the track surface repaired as part of the mayor’s project.

“We’re trying to see if we can include some of the surface that was damaged during the typhoon (Yutu) and I guess they’re checking contractors to get quotations,” he said.

In terms of FEMA renovations, Rangamar said “It looks like it’s not going to start until sometime next year.”

Repair work at the Oleai Sports Complex is needed, as Saipan will be hosting the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. The facility was originally scheduled to undergo renovation last year after sustaining damage from Soudelor in 2015. However, just months before the renovation started, Yutu came, causing more destruction to the complex.

Besides the track facility, the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield, the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield, the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, restroom, weight room, and fence will undergo improvement.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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