Three lots in Dededo could become sites for cultural centers if several bills authored by Sen. Clynt Ridgell are passed into law.

Bill 338-36 would approve the lease of tract 1143, block 3, lot 10 in Dededo to the Chuukese Association of Guam.

Bill 337-36 would approve the lease of tract 1143, block 2, lot 3 in Dededo to the Kuchu Organization of Guam.

Bill 336-36 would approve the lease of tract 1143, block 2, lot 2 in Dededo to the Kosraean Association of Guam.

Mirrored language is used in each bill, which describes the purpose of establishing a cultural center with the preapproval of the Legislature for the leases.

Twenty acres of land in Dededo and Hågat were reserved for cultural centers through Public Law 22-18. The intent was to relocate legitimate nonprofit organizations occupying the Harmon cliff line area to either village. Based on the details provided in the three bills, each cultural center would be located in Dededo, a decision made by stakeholders.

"The northern villages have the largest population of FSM immigrants. As such these FSM nonprofit organizations requested and recommended that these cultural centers be placed in the north. In addition, this area was identified by the Department of Land Management as the preferred area for these cultural centers,” Ridgell said.

The move was based on the community engagement needs in the areas.

"These FSM nonprofit organizations have become more active in the community in recent years. They have been working hard to increase outreach into the FSM community and these cultural centers will allow them to provide more programs and more resources to help immigrants from the FSM,” he said.

While Guam law would authorize the lease of the lots, it's up to the nonprofit organizations to fund the cultural centers.

"These organizations have been working on achieving nonprofit status, and obtaining funding from the FSM government to construct their cultural centers. We began working with them this year when we were informed that they had made headway with obtaining funding. We worked with the governor’s office, the Department of Land Management and these organizations to identify potential parcels of land that would be suitable for cultural centers,” Ridgell said.

With only a few months left as a senator, Ridgell, who chose not to run for reelection this year, said authoring the three bills now was out of necessity.

"Initially, we thought that GovGuam could enter into these lease agreements without any legislation. It was only recently brought to my attention that legislation would be necessary to approve of these leases,” he said.

The three bills were introduced on Sept. 15.


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