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La Plancha park alive again, but design is up for grabs

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The La Plancha parcel represent’s Mérida’s last chance to build a green space in the center of the city. Photo: Sipse

With an agreement to build both a park and Tren Maya station at La Plancha, state authorities are tossing the 2016 master plan approved by the previous administration.

To come up with La Plancha’s design, a competition among five local and five international architects will be organized by UADY, the Autonomous University of Yucatán.

“We want to be certain that the development that is built helps to enhance the area, that it is harmonious with what is being done in Yucatán and that is why an agreement will be signed in the coming weeks so that the UADY can organize the design contest,” stated Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.

A scale model of La Plancha’s landscape, as it was envisioned then, appeared at a 2018 environmental expo. Photo: Punto Medio

The previous master plan, under Gov. Rolando Zapata, was explicit. It envisioned a 60-acre park that displayed art, included a botanical garden, served as a cultural center, celebrated its heritage as a railway center, and accommodated meetings. This was years before the “Mayan Train” was conceived and extended to reach Mérida’s historic train station, now a state-run art school.

In the meantime, a baseball park was removed from the northern end of the field in 2019 to make way for a Museo de la Luz, which never arrived.

Local architecture students designed the Museum of Light, or Museo de la Luz, one of the first La Plancha projects to be announced by the previous administrations. It displaced a thriving ball field, but has yet to get off the ground. Photo: Courtesy

The competition to re-think the entire parcel of land is invitational to expedite the process, said the current governor, eyeing a 2024 deadline to complete the massive train project.

“The aim is for it to be a great green lung, to be a space for recreation and coexistence for the Yucatecans; and that the owners, in this case the federal government, have a station that is going to be a modern place, of good quality,” said Vila Dosal.

He explained that 70% of the land would be parkland and the remaining 30% for the railway station.

Open Letter: La Plancha’s concept began with the idea of green space, not more construction

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