With a grant of $11.2 million from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce it received early this year and 36 months as a timeline, the Garapan Revitalization Plan is being implemented methodically, according to Office of Planning and Development deputy director Chris Concepcion.
“The Garapan Revitalization Task Force is moving methodically with regards to the Garapan Revitalization Project. We are about to announce a Request for Qualifications for project/construction management services soon,” he said. “That will go through its process. From there, we enter the ‘A&E phase’ or the initial phase, which we estimate will take a few months of work since a site survey, architectural design and engineering work will need to be done.”
In an earlier interview, Concepcion said the vision is to transform the Garapan Core into “complete streets.” Complete streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, jobs, and schools, bicycle to work, and move with assistive devices. They allow public transport such as buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk or move actively to and from bus stops.
In March, the Office of Planning and Development led the water blasting of streets and repainting of parking markers in Garapan. “…In the meantime, to prepare for the reopening of our tourism industry, we are working with our partners at Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality and other members of the task force to clean out the drainage systems in Garapan in anticipation of increased rainfall during rainy season. …A trash cleanup was done by PDM Promotors recently, which resulted in over 500 lbs of garbage collected. To really tackle the garbage issue, we need more enforcement of our litter laws,” Concepcion said.
“We do not anticipate a significant number of tourist arrivals in the beginning since flights are minimal and there are still many restrictions in place for them, but we need to start somewhere and start now because many of our businesses that cater to tourists are in urgent need of revenue to avoid bankruptcy and closure,” Concepcion added.
The Garapan Core is mapped from Hyatt Regency Saipan to the Garapan Fire Station corner, then down to where the Cha Café & Bistro is to where Imperial Pacific Saipan is located, and out to DFS on Beach Road.
Concepcion said that after they accomplish the A&E phase, that’s when they’ll hit the construction phase. “We will continue to move forward with our EDA grant for Garapan Revitalization and I am positive the community will be very pleased with the results once this project is completed.”