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Giant step forward for La Plancha green space

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La Plancha, the railyard east of the Centro, is on the way to being a park in Mérida. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán – When the state re-routed rail lines out of the Centro and over to Umán, proponents of a Central Park at La Plancha had reason to cheer.

Volunteers at Gran Parque La Plancha A.C., a civil association pushing for a coherent green plan at the space, were expecting action by federal and state governments to move SCT train operations out of La Plancha in 2017, and this appears to be exactly what is happening, said Jack Robinson, who recently helped form a tour of the train station and surrounding area

 “Once the federal government has moved its operations, it can transfer La Plancha land to the state government and, at least in theory, work on the park could begin,” he told Yucatán Expat Life. 

“That said, a lot can be done in advance to prepare for the park: release of UNAM’s master plan — which has been hanging fire for almost one month — state funding for a proyecto ejecutivo or detailed plan that would allow the state to apply for federal monies for the park, uso de suelo studies by the municipality, linking of the Sunday Biciruta to La Plancha, as we have requested from the mayor for over a year, and creation of a public-private partnership to oversee the park,” said Robinson.

Community groups and academics for years have envisioned a 60-acre “Gran Parque” in place of the rail yards behind the defunct train station, now used for an art school. 

The green space is the last of its kind in the Centro, and neighbors dreaded seeing it swallowed up by concrete and construction when trees, bike paths and fields for outdoor activities could exist there instead.

The new rail line, the first project of its kind in 100 years in these parts, began this week with a groundbreaking ceremony in Umán’s industrial zone. It relieves central Mérida of the quality-of-life and safety issues associated with street-level trains that criss-cross city streets and residential neighborhoods. 

It also brings freight more efficiently to the new Grupo Modelo brewery and other nearby customers.

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