Mérida, Yucatán — The city will replace 430 street lights in the Historic Center, announced Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal.
The municipality will spend one million pesos to replace the lights with new technology along the main streets and in city parks.
The city is still in the midst of a huge legal tangle left over from the previous administration’s lighting project. The city lost a huge lawsuit with ABC Leasing after canceling a contract to install LED streetlights, which the city says were faulty.
The court ordered the city to pay 203 million pesos to ABC. The payout, in U.S. dollars about $12 million, is equal to 9.9% of the city’s operating revenues. The decision is still in arbitration.
The announcement was joined with the beginning of another facade-rescue program, in which the city takes a role in painting and plastering selected homes and commercial buildings in the Historic Center.
With a budget of 10 million pesos, 82 facades will be given a facelift, another step toward giving the downtown its original luster
The Programa de Rescate de Fachadas del Ayuntamiento de Mérida brings city and property owners together to repair and paint Centro buildings that reflect the city’s heritage. Traditionally, the city provides the labor, the owner provides some or all of the materials. But now, the city is covering all material costs. Historic preservation authorities at INAH ensure that the renovation furthers their aesthetic objectives.
This is the 21st year of the program in action, and over time, about 1,000 properties have been upgraded.
Fighting the street vendors
Business leaders asked that the city go farther to improve the quality of life downtown.
The president of the National Chamber of Commerce in Mérida (Canaco Servytur), Juan José Abraham Dáguer, asked the Ayuntamiento to redouble efforts to end the excess of street venders in the streets of the Historic Center.
The business leader acknowledged the effort of the municipal authority to change the face of the city center, but “we have to regulate all the street vending that exists in this area. We know you are working, we ask you to speed up the pace on this issue.”
Merida has the second largest Historic Center in the country, with an area of 8,795 square kilometers comprising 3,906 buildings with historical value which were built between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Among its treasures are 21 houses of worship and 633 structures declared historical monuments.