Rehabilitation of Hagatna plaza finally begins - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Rehabilitation of Hagatna plaza finally begins

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - A year and a half in the making, the ribbon was finally cut on the completion of the rehabilitation of the Plaza De Espana in Hagatna. $1.3 million in Hotel Occupancy Tax Bond money was used to breathe new life into the Plaza De Espana, which has deteriorated over the last several years.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony this morning Guam Economic Development Authority board chairman E.J. Calvo said the historic site is a vital part of the island's past and plays an important role in our future. "Today we gather at the plaza de espana. The location of our government and cultural hub for Guam for centuries. It has been a site of tragedy and triumph over our history. And here we are today to once again pay tribute to our past as we progress forward," he said.

The Plaza De Espana was the governor's palace during the Spanish occupation of Guam. It was also the seat of government for the Spanish and the first U.S. naval governments. During World War II almost all of the palace was destroyed. The surviving structures included the Garden House, which was built in 1736 and used as storage for garden tools, the Chocolate House, the azotea and arches were also left standing. It was in 1974 the Plaza De Espana was listed on the national register of historic places. 

Chairperson of the Department of Chamorro Affairs John Mafnas said, "The Plaza De Espana is not just the site of the Spanish governor's palace. Its where our people learned to evolve, to move forward. And to stand tall and proud of who we are so that we today could be all that we are. This plaza has stood with us to every change. Whether it was the Spanish conquistadors, Japanese occupation or American liberation. Despite the weathering of time or destruction it has stood strong like the Chamorros."

The completion of the rehabilitation of the Plaza De Espana is just the beginning according to Calvo GEDA is making tremendous progress on the $56 million worth of hot bond projects islandwide - all of which are on time and under budget. "These projects do great things to keep our past alive and improve our communities. In addition to this project, restoring the Malesso bell tower, the Magellan monument in Umatac, restoring the Inarajan Community Center, putting up new village and historic signs, improvements to various sports and recreations facilities and the construction of what will be the crowned jewel of Hagatna, the Guam Museum," he said.

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