From left, NMHC corporate director Joshua Sasamoto, Lt. Gov. Timothy Villagomez, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, DCCA's Ramona Rebuenog, and Paul Khang of 3K Corporation, lead the ribbon cutting ceremony for the inauguration of the Oleai Sports Complex grandstand yesterday. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) 
“Despite the economic challenges, it pleases me to see the completion of projects such as this, as we continue to improve our islands for our residents and visitors alike,” said Gov. Fitial in his brief speech.

“This project, although modest, created spending and economic activity for our Commonwealth. This project enhances the value of our Oleai Sports Complex to our youth population, sports enthusiasts, and the general community. This project may also enhance our appeal to tourists and sports tourists,” the governor added.

The grandstand was built through funds secured by the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Besides the grandstand, which according to NMHC took 90 days to build, NMHC was also responsible for getting funds for the construction of pathways in the sports complex. Construction of the pathways costs $47,800, while the NMHC spent $127,450 for the building of the grandstand bringing the cost of the two projects to $175,250.

Joining Fitial in the inauguration rites were Lt. Gov. Timothy Villagomez, Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael A. White, Northern Marianas Athletics president Kurt Barnes, Division of Sports and Recreation director Joe Lizama, Basketball Association of Northern Marianas Islands president Elias Rangamar, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs' Ramona Rebuenog, NMHC corporate director Joshua Sasamoto, and other officials of various government agencies.

Sasamoto in his closing remarks said the grandstand is a facility fitted to the CNMI's talented athletes.

“We have so many athletes with great talents and it is just right to give them the venue to showcase their talents,” Sasamoto said.

“But with this benefit comes responsibilities. I hope athletes and the rest of the community will do their best to maintain the grandstand,” Sasamoto added.

Lizama bowed to work with the public and the Division of Sports and Recreation staff to take care of the grandstand and the pathways.

Meanwhile, White on behalf of various sports associations and CNMI athletes thanked NMHC for getting things done.

“Their effort ensured that we had a great addition to our sports facilities, which our athletes look forward to enjoy,” White said.

NMA, which hosted the Oceania championships in June, through Barnes said having a grandstand and other improvement within the sports complex will give the CNMI an opportunity to bid for hosting regional games.

By Roselyn Monroyo
, Saipan Tribune


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