Thursday, December 28, 2006

Garapan in the News

Saipan Tribune, Wednesday, December 28, 2006

Ad-hoc group formed to transform Garapan
By Liberty Dones

A private sector-led group was recently formed to accomplish one big goal: to spruce up or transform the appearance of the downtown Garapan tourist area, block by block, in the next six months.

This area covers the corners of Winchell's and the police fire station on the highway side and the Hyatt Regency Saipan and the Fiesta Resort & Spa area on the Micro Beach side.

The ad-hoc group is led by Century Insurance president Dave M. Sablan Sr. and Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Michael von Siebenthal.

Sablan and von Siebenthal presented their project to government and environmental groups yesterday noon.

“The team's sole goal is to enhance the need to beautify the whole Garapan area so that we may proudly showcase the whole 'tourist belt' area, not only for our visiting tourists but also to our own local residents to enjoy,” said the two organizers.

The group divided the tourist belt, which includes the Paseo de Marianas, into 20 blocks and appointed 20 team captains to head the transformation of each block.

Hyatt Regency Saipan appointed six of its managers to handle six blocks while the remaining areas are given to managers belonging to Tan Holdings Corp., the mother company of Century Insurance.

Named as team captains from Hyatt Regency Saipan are its executives: Steve Palomero, Matt Araki, Gabrielle Colombo, Yosh Gabaldon, Josephine Mesta, and Ken Kaku.

They will be in charge of blocks located along Royal Palm Beach, Coffee Tree Avenue, and a portion of Ginger Avenue.

From Tan Holdings, the team captains include Lynn Knight, Ed Cho and Joe Ada, Rene Magalong, Nel Matanguihan, Arlene Almero and Elna Curante, Henry Pun, Ador Dimaano, Frank Camacho, and Puy Macario, among others.

Tan Holdings will handle portions of Royal Palm Beach, Coffee Tree Avenue, most of Ginger Avenue and the entire Plumeria Avenue.

Each team captain is tasked to pay a courtesy call on all business establishments within the assigned block to discuss beautification plans such as cleanup, painting, or planting flowering trees.

Part of the visit is to observe overall safety of the building, “ensuring that loose objects in the surrounding area are secured so that during high winds or typhoons, they do not fly away and damage other properties.”

Business operators are encouraged to plant flowering plants and decorative trees around the building.

Business signage will also be checked, making sure that it complies with the CNMI Building Code.

Team captains are required to submit reports and to meet once a month.

Sablan said the group would need more volunteers to implement the program.

He said the whole project is expected to be finished by end of June 2007.

The group met yesterday with Reps. Cinta Kaipat, Absalon Waki Jr., Zoning Board administrator Steve Tilley, Division of Environmental Quality's Tina Sablan, Beautify CNMI's Angelo Villagomez, Coastal Resources Management's John B. Joyner, Mike Evangelista from the House Speakers' Office, Judy Torres from Marianas Visitors Authority, among others.

Other officials dropped by during the meeting. They included MVA board chair Jerry Tan, MVA executive director Perry Tenorio, Asiana Airlines general manager Kwang Joong Kim, and Tan Holdings' Ivan Quichocho.

The group's transformation plan for Garapan tourist belt was widely supported by the attendees.

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