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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Expats asked to weigh in on a Calle 47 culinary corridor

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The idea of closing Calle 47 to traffic has been tried out during Mérida’s Noche Blanca on a couple of occasions already. Photo: Lee Steele

Several members of Mérida’s international community participated in a focus group to discuss the potential for a project described as a “culinary corridor” along Calle 47 east of the Remate. 

Calle 47 is already home to several popular restaurants including Oliva and Micaela Mar & Leña.

The idea for such a corridor has been discussed for years, but now momentum seems to be gaining. 

The event was held by the marketing firm Desimal at Punto MID Centro Cultural on Calle 47.

Though not many details regarding the city’s plans for this culinary corridor were given, attendees at the focus group expressed enthusiasm for the project, but also major concerns.

The informal session kicked off with a series of questions including what the participants enjoyed most about living in Mérida, as well as their biggest complaints —  before moving on to concerns addressing the culinary corridor project. 

One major aspect which remains unclear is whether or not the creation of such a project would involve the closure of Calle 47 to motor vehicle traffic, though it was implied that this would not be the case. 

Another concern had to do with how this project would affect residents on Calle 47 and the surrounding streets, as noise levels at Centro restaurants and bars have been the cause of much controversy

Earlier: Is Merida’s restaurant boom sustainable?

The facilitators said their intention was to listen to the perspectives of all stakeholders, including people living in the area, business leaders, and different members of the community to ensure the project will have a positive impact. 

But many of the participants expressed concern regarding the implementation of the project, citing distrust in the local government, cronyism, and a lack of regard for adequate infrastructure such as parking.

“We all like nice restaurants and places to go hang out, but historically Mérida’s city government has been extremely lax when it comes to zoning rules. This does not exactly inspire confidence” noted one of the attendees. 

Other issues addressed included the poor state of sidewalks, electrical infrastructure, and garbage collection, as well as the lack of green spaces in the area.

Several participants expressed the concern that once the project went ahead, any issues raised by Mérida’s international community would be brushed off citing the common refrain, “its Mexico, lighten up.”

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