Oleai track to open in April or May

Posted on Dec 12 2014
Resurfacing of the Oleai track and field facility is scheduled to begin next month. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Resurfacing of the Oleai track and field facility is scheduled to begin next month. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Northern Marianas Sports Association officials are aiming to open the Oleai track facility either in April or May next year as resurfacing will be in full swing as early as the first week of January 2015.

NMSA vice president Kurt Barnes, during the group’s monthly meeting last week, reported to the board and its members that things are moving along quickly as they have planned.

“The money is already there. The barriers are already in place and we’re already working with an engineer to get things started,” said Barnes.

Barnes added that resurfacing of the track, funded from a Community Development Block Grant from the Northern Mariana Housing Corp., is NMHC’s only project for this year.

“We also gained clearance from the [CNMI Historical Preservation Office]. We need to put up signs and replace the four-foot fence so people cannot just jump over. The [CNMI Zoning Board] also wants to get involved,” said Barnes.

The new track oval, once completed, will have a light blue color not the usual pinkish-red hue.

NMSA has completed all the necessary paperwork the federal agency required in order to give clearance for renovating the track, which was originally certified as a Level II facility by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Oceania Athletics Association officials, who visited Saipan last October to inspect the track facility, want to make sure proper resurfacing will be done for the track to last longer.

NMSA is hoping to get the track back to its former glory and ready to host international events in the future. Saipan is planning to host the 2017 Micronesian Athletics Championships, while the 2021 Pacific Mini Games will be held on the island.

Harsh weather conditions plus years of use contributed to the deterioration of the Oleai track and field facility as black patches and bubbles formed on its surface. (Jon Perez)

Jon Perez Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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