“La Plancha Grand Central Park” Project: Let’s make it Possible!

On Wednesday, October 29, 2014, Eric Rubio Barthell, representing Governor Rolando Zapata, officially announced that the railyard will be moved from the grounds of “La Plancha”, to a new site near Progreso, Yucatan.

The neighbors of “La Plancha” have been working with government authorities, civil associations and private companies toward building a Mega-Park project where the railway station used to be.

Significantly, the Federal Government has declared that they will rehabilitate the railways in the southeastern states of Mexico, and that the “Bullet Train” between Cancun and Merida will become a reality in the next 3 to 5 years.

This year the federal government has allocated 1.2 billion pesos to rehabilitate sections of the routes of Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Mérida and Valladolid, with the intention of reconnecting Yucatan with Central Mexico.

What does the local population expect from the La Plancha project?

A mixed-use park extending at least 30 hectares covering four vital areas:
1) Environment and education
2) Health, recreation and sports
3) Culture and Historic Preservation
4) Economic vitality, employment and tourism.


The following key features are proposed:

Environment and education: Woodland Family Park, a Botanical Garden, Community Gardens, walking and jogging paths, skating facilities, wireless internet throughout the park, a dog park, and playgrounds.


Health, recreation and sports: Sport facilities to practice Soccer, basketball, volleyball, and other athletic activites such as kickboxing, tai chi, aerobics, zumba, etc. A bicycle path connecting the Sunday “Bici-ruta”.


Culture and Historic Preservation: Renovation of warehouses and train station for cultural and commercial uses, including museums (for example, a space dedicated to famous Yucatecan artist Fernando Castro Pacheco), a Yucatan Railways Museum; galleries, and dance hall.


Economic vitality, employment and tourism: shops, restaurants, workshops where artisans develop and sell their goods, Yucatecan gastronomy market.

Among other innovative features, the park would have solar power, irrigation by rain water recollection and efficient and sustainable recycling, composting and garbage collection.

Beautiful Sunset at "La Plancha" (Photo: facebook.com/granparquelaplancha)
Beautiful Sunset at “La Plancha” (Photo: facebook.com/granparquelaplancha)

On September 11th, 2014; Mr Julio Sauma, Municipal Director of Social Development of the City of Merida, wrote in Diario de Yucatán:

When society accepts the challenge of ensuring and protecting their immediate surroundings, without regard to social, economic, or intellectual class, it paves the way for the consolidation of a true participatory democracy, and facilitates an effective dialogue with the governmental authorities.

And when the concern for public affairs becomes a social need, as in the case of Mérida’s “La Plancha”, the preservation of a public space becomes an opportunity to unite the proud people of this city.
The Multidisciplinary Forum held last September at the premises of the former railway station, that now houses the School of Arts of Yucatan (Esay), where experts from different backgrounds gathered for a common purpose, “La Plancha Grand Central Park Project”.

Students, Enterpreneurs, Civic Associations, specialists in urban spaces, and the public, together with officials from various levels of government, joined together to respond to a public call.

It took several days to share all manner of thoughts, proposals, ideas and aspirations, from architectural and historic preservation of the site, to culture and tourism, the use of sustainable energy sources that contribute to the protection of the environment, as well as health, sports and recreation.

The many wills and talents sharing the same purpose, the wealth of contributions, and the effort to articulate them into one comprehensive approach resulted in an exciting vision for the future of this site.

It is somewhat paradoxical that in the second decade of the XXI century, the Yucatan railway system is still a subject of controversy.

Julio Sauma

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON DIARIO DE YUCATAN: http://yucatan.com.mx/editoriales/opinion/de-plancha-a-un-megaparque

Let's make it possible!
Let’s make it possible!

If you want to sign the petition and support La Plancha Grand Central Park Project, just go to: https://secure.avaaz.org/es/petition/Gobernador_Rolando_Zapata_Bello_y_Presidente_Municipal_Renan_Barrera_Concha_Gran_Parque_La_Planchaimagina/?lJhCdib&pv=9

And don’t forget to LIKE Gran Parque La Plancha on Facebook



But not everything in this park are plants and trees …


Mérida International Film Festival should be held annually at an Outdoor Theatre in “La Plancha”

Though film production in Mexico has expanded significantly in the last two decades, profits remain low and talented people choose to go to the U.S or Europe to make a living in the industry.

A factor affecting the Mexican film industry today is the gravitational pull of Los Angeles, California (Hollywood).

Since it is just “across the street”, almost every talented Mexican director, producer, actor, photographer or animator heads for the Hollywood Hills.

Although the explosion of the new “Cine Mexicano” has brought international attention to new Latin directors in the last 10 or 15 years, this is not the first time that Mexican cinema has taken on the world.

Mexican cinema was at the forefront of Spanish-language film production, developing its own genres and styles such as the “comedia ranchera” while enjoying a healthy relationship with the government.

This fertile period lasted for more than 25 years.

The golden age of Mexican cinema, its “Cine de Oro”, lasted from 1946 to 1952, and was linked to the unprecedented economic growth and prosperity of Mexico during that period.

A contributing factor to this period of productivity was Mexico’s wartime alignment with the U.S.; increased revenue and access to technology became widely available to the Mexican film industry.

Nowadays, people like Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu are the creators of international productions that have solidified their global reputations as major film artists. But there remain lots of  “hidden treasures” in Mexico that need to be uncovered.

The people of Mérida deserve to have their own International Film Festival
The people of Mérida deserve to have their own International Film Festival

The State of Yucatan has long been considered fertile ground for great artists, and the XXI Century will continue providing opportunities for local talent to succeed in artistic fields such as Cinematography.

For example, the Autonomous University of Yucatan includes a “Visual Arts” faculty, where many talented young people are acquiring skills that will serve them for life.

The Yucatan needs an Independent Film Festival to attract young talent and help nurture it to fruition. A local film industry could begin with feature films produced and distributed by local independent entertainment companies outside of the major film studio system, low budget films which realize the filmmakers’ personal artistic vision.

Thus a local film industry would hatch, and the ideal venue for an annual event of this sort? “La Plancha Grand Central Park Outdoor Theatre”.

Such an annual festival would be kicked off with a major marketing campaign, with the winners to be screened at local, national, or international film festivals. Once it is better established, investors would provide the necessary funding for distribution.

But what is needed first is an outdoor structure large enough for a thousand people sitting comfortably, and a stage big enough for a cinema screen or a medium size theater stage. “La Plancha Grand Central Park Outdoor Theatre”.