Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Imagine This

The Garapan Tourist District should be the premier real estate in Saipan. Sandwiched between the Saipan Lagoon and a National Park, with easy walking access to several hotels, an elementary school, health clubs, restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and a three mile long walking path fronting the ocean, it should be the perfect place to raise a family.

But it's not.

It's the manky armpit of our once beautiful island.

I'd say close your eyes and try to imagine my vision, but then you'd have a really hard time reading this...but imagine what living in Garapan could be like:

Imagine if you are a young professional with a small one or two bedroom apartment on the third floor of one of the buildings in the "new" Garapan. You share it with your husband and your daughter.

You could wake up first thing in the morning and go for a six mile run along the Saipan Bike path, then jog over to Club Elan for some weightlifting or yoga.

Fresh from a shower at the spa, you walk over to one of the Chinese restaurants and have breakfast for $4.

You walk back to the apartment to help your husband get your daughter ready for school. Your daughter is pretty good in the morning and can get herself ready, it's your husband who really needs the help getting out the door.

Your daughter likes you to walk her to school, which is right across the street, so you take her over, kiss her goodbye, wish her luck on her test, wave to Boni, and then go to work.

You work at MVA, which along with the Saipan Mayor's office and several other government entities are now located in Garapan. Instead of driving, you walk over to work, strolling through the brand new Visitor's Center on your way to your desk.

Around noon one of your coworkers asks if you want Japanese, Korean or Thai for lunch. You respond with, "how about Italian?" Your husband, who works for the Mayor, walks over to meet you.

When your daughter gets out of school, you are able to take a fifteen minute break to pick her up. You take her home, then she goes out to play with her friends. They ride bikes through the National Park and then go swimming.

After work, some of your coworkers want to go for some happy hour drinks, but you promised your daughter you'd take her to the Thursday street market.

Alright, open your eyes.

In my vision, almost everything except for the government offices being located in Garapan is already true. It already exists. We can do this. If we can move the prostitution out, move several government offices including MVA in, and get young professionals to live here, we can save Garapan.

12 comments:

Boni said...

Two things Ang. 1. I'm so glad you mentioned the school. For years we've been fighting to keep it there because it is an attraction. The tourists love seeing the kids there. I remember visiting Hong Kong and seeing a school right across from our hotel, that's the first place I went to take pictures of kids and I was just in high school on a senior trip! Our campus is full of greenery and beauty and just the right place for kids to be! 2. On our yearly stroll to look at Christmas lights, we passed by Garapan and contemplated getting down to peruse the trees on the paseo. It was about 6:30 pm and upon driving through the hotel district, I couldn't stomach the thought. Even though our Christmas trees adorned the paseo, I didn't want my 15 year old son and little daughters to walk by prostitutes and strippers. I felt nautious, sad, and disappointed, no - angry, that my kids couldn't walk the paseo. The tourists don't like the prostitutes, but there are some very powerful people in government and otherwise who don't seem to care that it's a blemish on our reputation. I'm so tired of it and I wish we could just take our village back for ourselves and our visitors. Thanks for sharing your vision, I hope people who read this have enough foresight to latch on to your ideas.

Boni said...

Two things Ang. 1. I'm so glad you mentioned the school. For years we've been fighting to keep it there because it is an attraction. The tourists love seeing the kids there. I remember visiting Hong Kong and seeing a school right across from our hotel, that's the first place I went to take pictures of kids and I was just in high school on a senior trip! Our campus is full of greenery and beauty and just the right place for kids to be! 2. On our yearly stroll to look at Christmas lights, we passed by Garapan and contemplated getting down to peruse the trees on the paseo. It was about 6:30 pm and upon driving through the hotel district, I couldn't stomach the thought. Even though our Christmas trees adorned the paseo, I didn't want my 15 year old son and little daughters to walk by prostitutes and strippers. I felt nautious, sad, and disappointed, no - angry, that my kids couldn't walk the paseo. The tourists don't like the prostitutes, but there are some very powerful people in government and otherwise who don't seem to care that it's a blemish on our reputation. I'm so tired of it and I wish we could just take our village back for ourselves and our visitors. Thanks for sharing your vision, I hope people who read this have enough foresight to latch on to your ideas.

saipanboonieman said...

awesome vision angelo! ive been dreaming of the day that this may come true! id love to live there and be able to walk to work too.

only, i think id be calling in sick from every time i went jogging on the pathway because of the unknown toxins from burning trash and truck emissions that id inhale during my morning jog. :-(

and then id actually have to drive to work on the other side of garapan whenever it rains because of the noxious odor of sewage out/overflow. :-(

but yeah, its a nice vision isnt it?

Winter Park Fords said...

You described Baldwin Park!

tetricus said...

Merry Christmas!

tetricus said...

Merry Christmas!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

...or Celebration, New York, San Francisco, London and any number of cities that are well planned.

Marianas Eye said...

I haven't been reading the papers while I've been away, but I saw in Ruth's column that this piece made it into both papers. I'm glad about that. Nice job sharing the vision. I liked Ruth's call to action.

Brady Barrineau said...

There is new strip club opening up in the heart of Garapan soon. Each and every one of the Chinese whores in Garapan should be deported immediately. (tough to do, each one is represented by a very savvy attorney) What happened to the cameras and laws forbidding the whores of soliciting business in the open? Until the lawmakers stop making money off of these establishments, your awesome vision will have a tough time. It is an awesome vision though!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I was joking with somebody recently that we should pass a low criminalizing prostituion. The way things are now, you wouldn't even know that it is illegal.

Ron Hodges said...

What is the age limit for young professional, or will there be a senior citizen confined area?

Will the real estate bonanza be open season or will our lawmakers have the exclusive?

Condos for SALE
Ground floor opp.
Flat across from Godfather's
44 years remain on lease, small kitchen and furnished
60,000.

Call A1 Real Estate 233-1144

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

When I say young professional, I mean people who like to drink beer.