MVA: $1.4M alloted for Paseo de Marianas upgrade

Tatiana Babauta, destination enhancement specialist of the Marianas Visitors Authority, presents the renovation specifics of the Paseo de Marianas to the MVA board last month. Looking on are MVA board chair Gloria Cavanagh and board member Nick Nishikawa. (Bea Cabrera)

The Marianas Visitors Authority has alloted $1.4 million to give the islands’ only pedestrian mall—the Paseo de Marianas—a facelift.

Speaking in front of the MVA board last month, MVA managing director Chris Concepcion said they have been working on improvements in the Paseo de Marianas for a few years.

“The A&E designs are complete and we sought board approval to announce request for proposal for this project to see what bids we can get for this project. The ceiling amount is $1.4 million and it is reserved already,” he said.

“The overall plan is really nice. MVA destination enhancement specialist Tatiana Babauta is working closely with our contractor that does the architectural work,” he added.

Concepcion said that the proposed design will provide a landscape that is true about the Marianas.

“We will put a more trees to provide shade to people who are shopping or just strolling. For public events, a permanent stage for performances will be built, there will be a new walkway and definitely adequate lighting,” he said

“We are now ready to start the project and the next step is to issue RFPs,” he added.

Babauta shared more plans that will be done in the renovation.

“First, we are moving and clearing everything that is in the middle of Paseo so if you are standing at the Beach Road side, you will see everything up to Fiesta Resort & Spa. Second, we plan to construct a manmade river surrounded by blue flax stones which will give an environment that is relaxing. Third, we plan to plant palm trees and bonggang villa on both sides of the Paseo and add more plants,” she said.

“Fourth, a Japanese shrine will be built and it ill be a historical site and attraction. It will have a green wall behind the shrine and we will put a bench in front of it where people can sit down and feel the neatness and serenity of the place. Fifth, we noticed that some of the lights in Paseo are not aligned. Currently, lights poles are criss- crossed and the distance is not calculated so we are going to align it,” she added.

Board member Jerry Tan suggested adding a good sound system at PDM so it will not only be attractive visually but also audibly.

“The only reason I said this is for example, Christmas time, I think it will be good even without any band that all day long you are playing nice Christmas songs but you gotta have a sound system that allow you to have that,” he said

“So we can have music all year round not only Christmas but also local songs. Sometimes you walk through Paseo and it’s too quiet. One thing that I noticed over the years is that I get attracted to music and light and adding music will be a plus,” he added.

The board and Concepcion agreed and the latter said that he will take this up with contractor.

Concepcion said that they are looking at an eight-month construction timeline.

“With the board’s approval of RFPs, we are excited to see what proposals are out there so we can begin construction,” he said.

Bea Cabrera Cabrera
Bea Cabrera O’Malley, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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