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Progreso beach vendors fight city hall, find compromise

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Progreso Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi meets with vendors angry at attempts to clear the beach of private property kept there overnight. Photo: Progreso Hoy

Progreso, Yucatan — Vendors from along the malecon have already achieved some measure of victory while announcing the formation of a new group to protect their interests.

Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi compromised with the vendors, loosening the rule prohibiting them from storing chairs, umbrellas and other items in the public beach area overnight.

Their inventory can be on the beach from 8 a.m. to 6 in the afternoon. The original restriction banned them from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The mayor has made a priority of improving the port city’s image since taking office last year. He started off with an anti-littering crackdown, and is now working with state officials on larger infrastructure projects.

The street vendors attended a City Hall meeting accompanied by a legal adviser, who will support them to form the new Association of Concessionaires and Providers of Progreso Services. Through that organization, they intend to negotiate with city officials.

Late Tuesday, Zacarías Curi met with about 30 vendors who are dissatisfied with the order to remove their furniture from the beach every day. Setting up tables, umbrellas and chairs is time consuming and cumbersome, they complain.

They also argue that the schedule should be modified when cruise ships arrive, and during summer vacations, as many families from communities in Yucatán tend to arrive very early.

The mayor, in turn, said there is no going back in furniture removal on the beach, they will have to do it indefinitely, because it is about improving the image of the boardwalk.

While Zacarías Curi gave in on loosening the schedule, he said there is no going back on the overall goal to have furniture removed after hours. He suggested they find a warehouse nearby to keep their furniture.

The malecon looked like a cellar, observed Jorge Torre Loria, tourism advisor local chamber of commerce.

But vendors pointed out to Progreso Hoy that businesses such as Eladios and El Pez Gordo also occupy the federal beach zone without being hassled by the city.

A study is also planned to scrutinize the number of concessions the city and port authority should grant, and how much space they can take.

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