If the Biciruta seemed sparsely populated this morning, there’s good reason. Just blocks away, the president of Mexico was inaugurating Parque La Plancha.
After all these years, La Plancha is officially a park. Perhaps not as initially conceived, but nonetheless a park.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador joined Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal to celebrate its opening.
The day is 30 years after neighborhood groups first proposed a more dignified purpose for the 50-acre former railyard, which hadn’t seen a crowd since a 2011 Shakira concert. The land was Centro’s largest vacant parcel and the city’s last chance to build a “Central Park” modeled on New York’s and Mexico City’s. And a park would be preferred over highrises, a factory, or whatever large complex would go up instead.
AMLO’s interest in the park has to do with his own pet project, the Tren Maya. The “Mayan Train” won’t connect directly to La Plancha, as was once conceived, but an electric train will link the park with the closest Tren Maya station at Teya, seven miles away.
López Obrador characterized the Tren Maya as the world’s most important public works project.
Regarding La Plancha Park, López Obrador praised the work carried out by the military workers. They did it very well, and at a low price, he said.
A neighborhood group had proposed a more forested La Plancha, emphasizing its role as a “green lung” in a concrete jungle. A master plan was produced, and a previous administration started clearing the field of rubbish in early 2018. When work mysteriously stopped, neighbors tried to keep the momentum going, to no avail.
So now the park is a reality. While 3,000 trees have been planted in the park, two museums, an artificial lake, fountains, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, covered and elevated walkways, a food market, and a skate park are among the things that share space with natural flora and fauna. To monitor any mischief, 129 video surveillance cameras were installed at La Plancha.
The project had an October 2024 deadline, but “they managed to do it in only 14 months,” said Vila.
The state and federal government reportedly shared responsibility for the park’s price tag of MX$1.3 billion, or about US$75 million.
After the ceremony, visitors in the food market area were allowed to explore the park. A crowd of children immediately invaded the children’s play area.
La Plancha covers several blocks north of the historic former train station on Calle 55 between Calle 46 and Calle 48. A major entrance leads directly from the Calle 47 Gastronomic Corridor, crossing 48.