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Friday, July 30, 2021

Mexico puts La Plancha park back on the table

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The train shed between Parque La Plancha and the old train station, before renovations began. Photo: Courtesy

The federal government will consider building a large park at La Plancha, but it has not said whether it will follow a 200-page master plan created by neighbors and activists and approved in 2017.

The Gran Parque de La Plancha will be incorporated into the Mayan Train project, the Mérida City Council reported.

Mérida Mayor Renán Barrera Concha met with the head of the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), Rogelio Jiménez Pons, where they agreed to consider the construction of the long-planned park on the former rail yards behind the historic train station. The land is the largest undeveloped parcel in the Centro.

Proponents of La Plancha have long held that the land should be a green space. But sometime in 2018 work there halted without explanation, frustrating neighbors who were told a “Central Park” would be in operation there by now. More recently, Mexico announced its so-called Mayan Train would include La Plancha as one of its several stops across the Yucatán Peninsula.

A committee will be made up of representatives of federal, state and municipal governments, as well as universities and residents of the area, the City Council said.

The master plan had called for a 60-acre park with room for art exhibits, a botanical garden and workshops. Renovations had already begun at the shed between the 1920s train station and the abandoned rail yard. Those buildings were intended to be music and dance studios.

“The new park … can be one of the most important projects of the new century,” said the leaders of the La Plancha civic association.

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