Construction of new Youth Center in Pago starts up this month
Construction of the long awaited Youth Community Center at the site of the former Korea House in Pago Pago is set to begin this month. This is according to Pa'u Roy Taito Ausage, the acting Director of the Department of Youth and Women's Affairs (DYWA), who will be responsible for managing and maintaining the new structure.
Pa'u told Samoa News last week the project will be put out for bid soon and construction is set to begin shortly thereafter.
The acting director recently escorted a delegation from Indonesia who were here to set up an e-learning center at the American Samoa Community College and proposed scholarship programs for interested locals who want to study abroad in the Southeast Asian country (See the Wed. 08/28/13 issue of Samoa News for details).
The Indonesian government has pledged $300,000 to fund the construction of the new Youth Center and the American Samoa Government will be putting up $300,000 of its own for the project. ASG's share comes from the reprogramming of monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for projects that did not meet certain deadlines.
Earlier this year, the Korea House was demolished in preparation for the construction of the new Youth Center. The decision to demolish instead of renovate came after engineers discovered the structure was in such bad condition it was declared unsafe.
The acting director said the delay in putting the work out for bid is due to several changes made to the plans. Pa'u said the work could take up to six months to finish but they are hopeful everything will be completed as early as December.
Indonesia's Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Dino Patti Djalal met with Governor Lolo M. Moliga in Honolulu earlier this year and a request was made for assistance in building a Youth Center in Pago Pago.
The relationship between American Samoa and Indonesia began with former Governor Togiola Tulafono who invited Dr. Djalal to the territory last year. It was then that a sister-city relationship between American Samoa and the indonesian North Sulawesi Province was proposed. Djalal chose the North Sulawesi Province because that part of Indonesia has a large Christian population with a famous church choir, and, similar to the territory, its economic developments are in the areas of fisheries and agriculture.
Indonesia's interest in the territory, as explained by Iwan Prih Hatmoko from the Bureau of Planning and International Cooperation of Indonesia's Ministry of Education and Culture, came after a 2010 meeting between US President Barack Obama and the Indonesian President in the capital city of Jakarta where a comprehensive partnership agreement was made.
"That means our goal is not just to focus on the US mainland, but also the US territories as well," Hatmoko said. Hatmoko is part of the Indonesian delegation departing the territory tonight after spending nearly a week trying to set up the e-learning center at ASCC as well as recruiting locals to apply for scholarships to study in Indonesia.
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