Organizers of Gran Parque la Plancha, a proposed Central Park-type green space near downtown Merida, have accused Yucatan state officials and federal agencies of giving the ambitious project a “cold shoulder” treatment that could thwart hopes for creating the park.
At a press conference Thursday June 29 in the La Plancha neighborhood east of downtown, park organizers demanded that federal and state officials concur in the master plan for the complete green space contemplated at 24 hectares.
Arturo Novelo, a lawyer and director of the citizens group promoting Gran Parque La Plancha, said Yucatan state government has formulated its own plan for a much smaller park.
The state’s plan would utilize only four hectares of the former La Plancha railway station, staging yards and train-repair facilities that are contemplated for the park, Novelo said.
“We insist that society requires a park of 24 hectares and demand that state government program a public presentation of this plan, putting aside any other plan relating to the sale of a portion of these lands,” Novelo said at the press conference attended by about 30 local media and conducted in Spanish.
In response to reporters’ questions, Felix Rubio, president of the La Plancha citizens group, said no portion of the public lands should be sold for development of hotels, shopping centers or other commercial purposes.
“This land belongs to the people of Merida,” said Rubio.
Luis Romahn, Merida director of Parques de Mexico, another organization lobbying for the park, said realizing the Gran Parque la Plancha dream will take at least several years and require an as-yet undetermined amount of funds, which he said could come from federal, state and local governments as well as private sources.
At the media gathering, organizers distributed copies of the park master plan completed last January. The 205-page document was prepared by experts at Mexico’s Autonomous National University (UNAM), the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY) and other specialists.
State officials have kept the plan under wraps, Novelo and Rubio charged, to keep the public in the dark about the proposed park’s full potential.
Rubio said the La Plancha group plans to hold another set of public tours of the proposed park site in the next few months to again draw local citizens’ attention to the great potential the project holds for improving Merida’s environment. The first round of tours held last March attracted several hundred visitors, including many expats.
By Robert Adams for TYT
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