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Last updateWed, 18 Jul 2018 12am

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    Tuesday, July 17, 2018-8:23:22P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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House passes bill to ‘take back’ American Memorial Park

THE House of Representatives on Friday passed a measure that would authorize the governor to request the U.S. to transfer control of American Memorial Park to the CNMI government.

All 17 members present voted to approve House Bill 20-152 which was introduced by Rep. Donald Barcinas. It now goes to the Senate.ampark

The bill was reviewed by the House Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs headed by Rep. Gregorio Sablan Jr.

The bill states that “Section 5 (f) of United States Public Law 95-348 provides that once a request is made, the secretary of the Interior shall transfer, without cost, all improvements, including real and personal property to the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Thereafter, the full cost of development , administration and maintenance of the park shall be borne by the CNMI government.”

Before the National Park Service took over American Memorial Park, the community enjoyed using it. The park was the venue for many activities, including Liberation Day, Flame Tree Arts Festival, Taste of the Marianas, athletic and sporting events, the Saipan Fishing Derby, school-related activities and community-outreach programs.

These activities are no longer held at American Memorial Park due to the many restrictions imposed by the National Park Service, the bill states.

When American Memorial Park was first conceptualized in 1978, the master plan includes making the park a recreational complex for islandwide activities. However, these activities have dwindled over the years because of the restrictions by the National Park Service, the bill states.

American Memorial Park, which lies within the vicinity of the Garapan business and tourist district, would also be an ideal location for an indigenous cultural center as it is easily accessible to businesses, tourists, residents and the general public, the bill states.

Barcinas said it is time to take back the park and turn it into a revenue-generating facility under CNMI government’s control.