Mérida, Yucatán — Gran Parque La Plancha’s green concepts have been committed to paper, in the form of a master plan which has been released to the pubic.
The plan, prepared by academics from two major universities and a Mexico City research group, was endorsed by Gran Parque La Plancha A.C., the civic association lobbying to transform the acres of land behind the train station into an urban park.
The document “is quite good,” said Jack Robinson, a member of the civic association, adding that it is also “very important in that it integrates our ideas and the ideas of other groups and individuals from the public who care deeply about the kind of park that will be built.”
Four pillars comprise the concept plan: biocultural heritage, arts and crafts, recreation and physical activity, and the mission to serve as a multifunctional public meeting place.
That spells a 60-acre park that displays art, includes a botanical garden, serves as a cultural center, celebrates its heritage as a railway center, and delivers workshops.
This is a conceptual master plan, not fleshed out enough to include a budget.
“Let us not forget that there is still much to do before the construction of the park,” reads a statement from Gran Parque La Plancha A.C. “Among other things, we require a comprehensive executive project, consistent with the master plan. Therefore, we suggest that the state government and the master plan team organize a meeting as soon as possible to answer our questions and develop their plans to complete the executive project before the conclusion of the administration of Gov. Rolando Zapata.”
Several existing buildings and parcels on the La Plancha site have various legal statuses, complicating the project timeline. The rail yard to the north of the property, for example, will be tied up until a new operations center is built in Poxilá. So the state administration could choose to develop the park piecemeal, to get the ball rolling under their supervision.
“The new park … can be one of the most important projects of the new century,” said the leaders of the La Plancha civic association. “Only the active participation of all citizens will make it possible.”
The open space is the last of its kind in Mérida’s congested Centro. Park advocates want to avoid seeing it swallowed up by concrete and construction when trees, bike paths and fields for outdoor activities could create a “green lung” there instead.
The plan, which is over 200 pages and includes detailed drawings, can be downloaded from the following links: