Marpi pool safe for now; officials relieved

Swimmers can still train and compete at the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool, as the Department of Public Lands will ensure that operations and maintenance of the facilities in the Marpi area do not cease while negotiating a new lease. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Local swimming officials are relieved to know that they could still use the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool despite the expiration of the 40-year lease of the facilities in Marpi at the end of this month.

Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd operates the only Olympic-size pool in the CNMI along with the Mariana Resort & Spa and the Marianas Country Club and no new lease has been awarded by the Department of Public Lands, although a notice of intent to award was issued on July 15, 2016 to Imperial Pacific International—the sole proposer for RFP15-RED006 (request for proposal for long-term lease of the mentioned facilities).

“A new lease has not been awarded at this time, however, DPL at the moment is preparing to announce an RFP by close of next week for a hotel golf resort operating agreement (not a lease) to operate and manage, as well as maintain the entire facility. The operating agreement will have a term of one year, which can be extended for additional one year periods. DPL expects the RFP process to be completed in approximately 90 days. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. may participate in the RFP for the hotel golf resort operating Agreement,” DPL Real Estate Division director Rachel M. Roque told Saipan Tribune in response to inquiries about the expiration of the lease.

“DPL will ensure that operations and maintenance do not cease while negotiating a lease or conducting any processes to secure a most beneficial lease,” she added.

Saipan Swim Club coach Jacoby Winkfield, who has over 100 swimmers training regularly at the 50-meter pool welcomed the good news.

“It’s relieving. However, there’s still the issue of uncertainty on the long term swim development program. The sooner we know until when the pool will remain open, the more time we will have to prepare and train our swimmers and get our venue ready, especially now that the 2021 Pacific Mini Games is just around the corner,” Winkfield said.

“We’re eyeing a strong performance from our swimmers when they compete here in the Mini Games and we would also like to give the off-island swimmers a memorable experience in the Games,” the SSC coach added.

Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation president John Hirsh hopes a long-term lease will be finalized soon.

“The extension is good news…for the short term. We are pleased and thankful that Marianas Resort will continue to operate and maintain the pool. We’re hopeful that a long-term land lease will be finalized soon, so that we can move forward with our partners to renovate and improve the existing 40-year-old pool,” said Hirsh.

Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan, which also has over 100 swimmers using the pool, thanked Mariana Resort, too and looks forward to improvement in the facility once a new lease is awarded.

“I really hope that the pool will be rebuilt soon,” said Tsunami Saipan coach Hiro Kimura, adding that they already have a backup plan if the pool closes.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for 16 years. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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