If a proposal for federal funding is approved, the CNMI community will be able to enjoy an improved Oleai Sports Complex, plus a cultural center at the Civic Center in Susupe.
The project, proposed by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, is one of the top 20 priority projects under the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that the Office of Planning and Development has prepared and submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration earlier this year.
“This particular project is probably one of the costl[iest] that we are anticipating,” said OPD director Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong.
“There are, to date, roughly nine proposals, four that have been submitted, he added.
The submitted proposals are for new career and technical education buildings for the Northern Marianas College, Public School System, and Northern Marianas Technical Institute, as well as a filtration system proposal of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
Ogumoro-Uludong spoke before the House of Representatives last Friday to express appreciation for the legislators’ support of the proposal to repair and upgrade the Oleai Sports Complex, as well as upgrades to the Civic Center Beach Park.
“We’re very hopeful that EDA will consider it, as we see many economic benefits that would flow out, should this proposal be approved for funding,” Ogumoro-Uludong said. “Additionally, we anticipate the building of an Olympic-sized swimming pool…at the existing sports complex. …So we’re very thankful for the support of the House.”
That support came in the form of House Resolution 21-23, which was introduced by Rep. John Paul P. Sablan (R-Saipan), and the House has adopted.
“This resolution, having to be transmitted to EDA, sends a united position by this body [the Legislature] that we are appealing for help with whatever grants we can avail of [for] the Commonwealth as a whole,” Sablan said.
Sablan explained that, while there are many federal grants available that the CNMI is trying to avail of, most, if not all of the grants are competitive. This means that other U.S. territories are competing for the grant.