Clearing and cleanup at the Oleai Sports Complex will take a while even as Northern Marianas Sports Association plans to ask for extra hands to get the job done.
“This will take a while,” said NMSA executive director Tony Rogolofoi, who along with his four staff members resumed work last Monday at the facility that was badly hit by Super Typhoon Yutu.
“We’re taking it one day at a time and a long work is ahead of us since we have only a few staff,” added Rogolifoi, who returned to the island several days after Yutu slammed Saipan and Tinian and let his staff took care of their own homes first before getting back to the complex.
At the start of this week, Rogolifoi and company focused on the “eye sores” at the facility, as they took down the front fence, the crumpled batting cage, broken nets, and torn roofs of the left bleacher at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
“We’re concentrating on the damaged areas at the front, removing the ‘eye sores,’ like the crooked pipes and broken fence,” the NMSA executive director said.
They will also work at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield and the fence at the track oval in the coming weeks and will request for help from the Saipan Mayor’s Office and possibly, the National Guard.
Rogolifoi added that they will submit an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week to seek for financial assistance in the rehabilitation and repair of the sports complex.
“We already made an initial assessment on the damage sustained by the Oleai Sports Complex and we will include that in our application to FEMA,” Rogolifoi said.
Before the sports complex suffered massive damage from Yutu, it was also hammered by Typhoon Soudelor, three years ago and FEMA approved a substantial amount to fix the facility. NMSA was just waiting for some paperwork from concerned government agencies for the repair project to start when Yutu came and caused more damage to the sports complex and its facilities.
The Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium lost more roofs, while windows were also smashed. The lighting system at the “Tan Ko” field was also broken, while portions of the ground of both the “Tan Ge” and “Tan Ko” field washed off and need fixing (flattening, reinstallation of bases, and other groundskeeping work).