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Major changes in store for Lions Park with proposed development

Lions Park in 2019
Gov appoints special working committee to lead the planning
Source: Governor’s Office media release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Department of Commerce in a May 14th presentation to Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga revealed that they are ready to move forward with what is designated as the “Innovation and Technology Campus of American Samoa project”.

According to DOC director Petti Matila, the project would provide "an additional public realm, a bustling retail strip featuring cafes' direct access banking facilities, restaurants, and a business area. In addition, the waterfront project will become a pedestrian-friendly precinct with many community benefits while focusing on preserving the natural resources that currently exist near the Pala Lagoon and protecting the eroding shoreline."

According to a media release over the weekend, the plan for the campus's layout covers most of the area, starting from Tasi Street to Lima Street and along the main road. The project includes approximately 12 dwellings, ranging from 3 to 4 story buildings, sports complexes, shoreline upgrades, a walking trail, a seawall, a beach multisport court, tennis courts, a modern playground, volleyball, and basketball courts.

(The media release provided did not state if the ‘dwellings’ mentioned are actually places for people to live as the definition of the word indicates.)

In a previous meeting held on May 5, 2021, with a special working committee selected by the governor, the project was seen as a significant opportunity to revitalize a strategic site next to the International Airport and the busiest part of Tafuna.

According to Gov. Lemanu, "...this development is designated to enable people and businesses to thrive. In addition, the public will benefit from a new section of the oceanside walk and sports facilities. The local digital economy is on the rise, this park will serve as a hub for all technology and innovation type businesses." The Department of Public Works is also identifying Lions park as a potential location for the new hospital.

"I have asked all the partners involved and interested in developing this portion of land to go back to the drawing board and work together to come up with an integrated plan."

The plan includes newly created office spaces for ASG and private businesses currently leasing a section of the Lions Park. According to the governor, "Priority will be given to those ASG offices and businesses currently located at Lions Park to relocate inside the new development upon completion."

The total capital cost for the development has yet to be determined, according to the release, and a source of funding was not mentioned.

Gov. Lemanu and Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale are adamant that the project will provide the space needed to deliver world-class facilities, become a sought-after tech destination, popular tourist attraction, stimulate private investment, create jobs, and protect critical infrastructure.

The working committee consists of Director Petti Matila (DOC), Attorney General Fainu'ulelei Falefatu Alailima Lutu, Director Faleosina (DPW), Dr. Mikaele Etuale (CPO), Director Afalava Eliki Afalava (Admin Services), Director Talauega Dr. Samasoni Asaeli (DOE), Director Christopher King (DPA), and Director Kenneth Tupua (PR).