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Southern mayor wants safety concerns addressed

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Safety concerns have been raised about a dilapidated historic building in Inarajan. Lawmakers are hoping something can be done to prevent any injuries from occurring in the southern village.

Inarajan mayor Franklin Taitague says for years he's been concerned about the safety hazards of this historical building in his village. The facility is located right next to the church and other recreational facilities. The issue of safety is his main concern, but he says he's also worried that the hazards will become a liability to the Government of Guam if nothing is done about it.

"Back in 2006," he recalled, "I had high hopes when the Guam Preservation Trust orally signaled to me that there is something that would be done but nothing has really come to a reality. So I need to take the necessary steps for the safety of my community."

Taitague sent a letter to Senator Tina Muna Barnes and Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz a couple of weeks ago. In order to properly address these concerns, these lawmakers wrote to the department of public works to see what can be done to properly inspect and close off the building.

"If you look at it, it's very dilapidated. The roofs or ceilings and other parts of the building are really falling down. if you notice, we're standing on a volleyball court and behind the building is a basketball court and certainly our community kids and adults, they come around to get fit and enhance their basketball skills and safety is very much a concern," he said.

Residents who frequent this area often use the facility when it rains. Although the mayor has placed caution tape to warn people, it simply isn't enough, saying, "Immediately we need to barricade it. We need to do something. To protect it from the community as far as the safety hazard that it's in."

The structure was built in 1935 by the navy where it was once a community center. It also served as an educational institution for students living in the village. Taitague says he's also hoping for the Guam Preservation Trust to help restore the facility to the way it was decades ago. "Because of its monumental value, I would really like to get it restored or get the government to restore it and probably use it for a learning center for our use," he explained.

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