Residents who wanted a park in Altabrisa got their way when Mérida announced a 20-acre “green lung” called Parque Tho’.
Parque Tho’, under the shadows of the twin Country Towers complex and a busy shopping mall, will have conventional recreational space as well as shopping, a bandstand, shopping, and kiosks for paying bills. Construction begins in July and will continue in stages, said Mayor Renán Barrera Concha.
Like urban parks in other cities, Parque Tho’ will be run by a Decentralized Public Organization with a board of directors and its own budget.
The park will be expected to be self-sustaining, said Alejandro Ruz Castro, a city official who was appointed to be the spokesman for the project.
Renderings indicated a figure-eight configuration with elevated paths and retail shopping. However, public input will be required before a final design is set.
The inspiration behind the “Tho’ Parque de Todos” project was in the popular parks of the Alemán and Las Américas neighborhoods. They are popular enough to attract residents from all around the city, not just in the immediate area.
“I estimate that on Saturdays and Sundays, 60% of the people who go to the Parque Alemán park do not live in that neighborhood,” said Barrera Concha.
As a candidate for mayor in 2018, Barrera Concha promised to save the vacant parcel of land for open space. Altabrisa is among Mérida’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, known for modern highrises and shopping plazas.
The concept of self-financing parks and the comprehensive management model began to emerge in Mexico and the United States 10 years ago. These models work well in well-known parks in Mexico, such as La Mexicana in Mexico City, Fundidora in Monterrey, and in eight large parks in New York, including Central Park.