Leepan wants NMI to take over American Memorial Park

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REPRESENTATIVE Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero will introduce a bill “mandating” the governor to ask the federal government to transfer the administration of  American Memorial Park to the CNMI government.

Section 5 (f) of U.S. Public Law 95-348 requires the U.S. secretary of the Treasury to transfer the administration of the park to the CNMI “at such time as the governor, acting pursuant to legislation enacted in accordance with sections 5 and 7 or Article II of the Constitution of the CNMI, requests such a transfer.”

Guerrero’s still unnumbered bill aims to enforce this provision of the federal law.

The park consists of an amphitheater, visitor center, a court of honor, tennis courts, a beach pavilion, restrooms and a sprawling park with path walks north of Garapan.

In an interview on Tuesday, Guerrero said it is now the ideal time “to take back the park,” adding that it has been 40 years since the enactment of U.S. P.L. 95-348.

Guerrero said the area is an ideal venue for the  signature cultural events of the CNMI such as the Flame Tree Arts Festival and the Taste of the Marianas, as well as sports events like the Xterra, the Saipan Marathon and Saipan Fishing Derby, and eve school activities, graduations, plays and concerts. The park could be the  center for cultural activities of the island.

He said some of these community activities used to be held at  American Memorial Park, but due to the restrictions and permitting process of the National Park Service, these activities have to be held elsewhere.

Last year’s Taste of Marianas, for example, was held at the Garapan Fishing Base.

“It’s time for us to take it back and assume ownership of it and make it more appealing,” Guerrero said, adding the CNMI can apply for and obtain federal grants and other funds to maintain the park and build more facilities.



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